VDEs to better connect event suppliers and planners in Vietnam

An innovative online platform that aims to elevate Vietnam’s event planning has been crowned a finalist in a regional tourism start-up competition.

The brainchild of Ann Naomi Nguyen – who spent eight years working in the industry – VDEs strives to eliminate the time-consuming process of booking meetings, events and weddings by providing a one-stop-shop for spaces in Vietnam.

Ann: saw a gap in the market to better connect professional event suppliers with event planners

Ann, VDEs’ founder and managing director, said: “Following a survey with our clients, it can take up to 14 days to find venues and book them. Imagine if you waste all your time and resources here.”

As competition in Vietnam’s business events market grows, with an increasing number of event spaces and suppliers emerging, standing out from the crowd is becoming more difficult.

Added Ann: “There are almost 2,500 spaces but they don’t have access to an efficient marketplace, especially new venues which spend a lot of money to be at the top of a Google search and on social media channels, while having many sales staff to call clients. We saw the need of supply and demand and came up with VDEs, a platform to connect professional event suppliers with event planners.”

Created by a small team of hospitality and technology experts, VDEs uses artificial intelligence and 360-degree virtual reality to enable clients to explore spaces from their laptop. To date, partners have seen the use of event space increase by five to 10 per cent.

Since launching in February 2017, more than 150 events have been booked through VDEs, with 920 events planners signed up. It has also secured a string of large partners, with major corporate planners from organisations such as booking.com and Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Tourism on board.

A screenshot from the VDE website

VDEs’ future plans include developing the technology side of the business. A virtual assistant – similar to Amazon’s Alexa but for events – will enable users to control every step of the process, alongside more products being added to the platform. These include event suppliers for photography, decorations, lighting and catering, travel suppliers for transport and accommodation, and other service suppliers, such as Mypop for collecting and exchanging reward points and Grab.

It is this innovation that secured VDEs a place as a finalist in this year’s Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) Startup Accelerator, alongside four other companies. They will come together in October to compete in the final stage for grants of up to US$10,000.

“What we are trying to build is an eco-system for the whole events industry, where the most advanced technology is applied to simplify and automate the pre-event searching, booking, planning process and post event evaluation process,” said Ann.

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