Greg Lowe discovers on his trip to Viva Voyage Bangkok a straightforward travel agency with decent service, but the devil's in the detail
PRESENCE Viva Voyage is located on the first floor of the north tower of Bangkok's Maneeya Centre. Floor-to-ceiling windows are adorned with colourful posters, and to the left side of the door are standees promoting tours, packages and flights to Asian destinations and the US, mostly in Thai. One standee is in English and offers sightseeing tours in and around Bangkok.
The venue is not especially inviting and has the does-what-it-says-on-tin aesthetic common to many traditional travel agencies.
APPEARANCE Inside Viva Voyage is much more like an office. While I appreciated the fact that the consultant – who only gave me her name when I asked – was wearing a surgical mask to prevent passing on whatever ailment she had, it was disconcerting not being able to see her face during the conversation. She was courteous and professional, however.
The rest of the staff were very informally dressed. The business card I was given by one of the tour operators was a little dog-eared.
EASE The shop is highly visible and easily accessible from the walkway that connects the building to Chidlom station on the BTS.
The service was reasonable. The consultant spoke very good English and was very responsive, but as I was requesting a custom tour outside of the firm's standard offering, I was asked to send a full request by email for her manager to review. I liked the fact that the consultant was very honest about what they could provide and would not over-promise.
SUGGESTIONS The shop would benefit from a spring clean. Signs on the desks clearly identifying staff and their positions would be a definite plus. Consultants should have boxes of business cards at their workstations rather than having to fish out slightly grubby cards from their wallets.
The consultant I spoke to said the company was able to provide custom private tours around Thailand and had specialists in each main region and city. It would be good if they had a few examples of tour elements and activities in each place to communicate with clients, even if the manager had to approve actual costs and itineraries.