'Know your customer' should be every brand's mission statement. We've all had experiences where realising a service provider knew about our needs and tastes was rather impressive - and reassuring.

I remember landing in Hanoi a couple of years ago and being welcomed by my guide with a bunch of flowers. It was my birthday and he knew it! The travel agent he worked for had obviously done their homework and looked for the important details which would make their service special - and give  them a competitive edge.

Similarly, every single hotel I went to had already been informed of my son's food allergies and prepared a note - in Vietnamese - listing exactly all the foods he is allergic to so I could show it whenever eating out.

The experience did not just make me and my family feel valued (not to mention give us peace of mind) but it was a result for the travel agent in question too. I have been recommending them to anyone I know who's planning to visit Vietnam.