Holiday Inn Phuket reopens in Patong, ready for guests


PHUKET: The Holiday Inn Resort Phuket reopens today (Aug 28), with a focus on ensuring guests’ wellbeing as the island prepares to start receiving foreign travellers under the government’s ‘Safe and Sealed’ policy.

The resort, which has been a mainstay of Patong’s tourism landscape for more than 30 years, has implemented science-led protocols and service measures to ensure a safe, secure stay, said a release announcing the reopening.

“Holiday Inn Resort Phuket looks forward to welcoming back guests to a wonderful vacation experience with peace of mind. In preparation of the reopening, Holiday Inn Resort Phuket enhances the guest experience with new cleaning protocols and service standards.

A partnership with industry-leading experts Cleveland Clinic, Ecolab and Diversey has led the Resort to integrate the global IHG Clean Promise. This includes deep cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants, contactless processes, sanitisation of high touch point areas and social distancing policies throughout the entire hotel, the release explained.

In addition, Holiday Inn Resort Phuket has also been awarded the Safety and Health Administration (SHA) certification by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for its comprehensive guidelines, the release added.

The certification confers that Holiday Inn Resort Phuket has met the health and safety standards the SHA programme requires, which ranges from hygiene of the workplace and its facilities, guestrooms, meeting rooms, public areas, restaurants, staff hygiene and guest safety protocols.

“While we have adopted new protocols, our team is committed more than ever to deliver the same warm, welcoming service and personalised care,” says Bart Callens, General Manager of Holiday Inn Resort Phuket. “We see it as an opportunity to provide a place for guests to relax and reconnect with loved ones in a safe, carefree setting.”

The release also marked the reopening of the resort’s Busakorn Wing, which underwent major refurbishment in a US$$4.6 million (about B143.545 million) renovation of the resort that was completed in December last year.

“With the re-opening of the newly refurbished Busakorn Wing we offer a fabulous resort within a resort experience, where tropical sophistication meets traditional Thai luxury. Offering a fresh guest experience for our new and returning guests, the beautifully appointed Studio Rooms and Villas combine heritage-inspired décor but with Modern Thai elegance,” the release said.

“As a We Travel Together participating resort, guests will receive up to 40% savings and complimentary breakfast,” it added.

“The resort’s all-day dining restaurant Charm Thai features a revitalised menu that includes a new Phuket Speciality menu. Sam’s Steaks and Grill will re-open every Friday and Saturday night from Sept 4. Take advantage of the new Sam’s Staycation offer. If you spend over 5,000 baht per couple in Sam’s, you can stay that night for free, including complimentary breakfast for two the next day in the newly renovated Busakorn Studio rooms,” the release noted.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on August 28, 2020

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Thailand’s retail and property markets adapt and move online


Tourism, property, retail – 3 sectors of the Thai economy that have taken a huge hit from the impact of lockdowns and border closures. Whilst most of the lockdown provisions are now lifted, the borders remain mostly closed and the economy ‘sluggish’ at best.

The first half of 2020 has been one of the most challenging periods that Thailand retail industry has faced, probably ever. CBRE, an international property consultant, reveals that the degree of uncertainty in the second half of 2020 remains high. Retailers and developers alike must be adaptive and boost their e-commerce penetration to survive.

Thailand’s Covid-19 measures were put in place to contain the virus, but retail, the property market, along with tourism, has taken a significant hit.

“What we have been seeing in the past three months are brand-new challenges that took everyone by surprise. For around two years, we have been saying that those who cannot adapt quickly enough to the shifting retail landscape will not survive, but this is on another level. Retailers have to change their business operations not only to match the drastic drop in footfall but to accommodate a new way of shopping” – Ms. Jariya Thumtrongkitkul, Head of Advisory & Transaction Services, Retail, CBRE Thailand.

The retail sales index in May 2020 has dropped by 34% year-on-year, mostly from the decline in sales of cars and fuel. The Consumer Confidence Index dropped to the lowest point since 1998 at 47.2 in April but has managed to stumble back to just over 50 in July. While Thailand’s same-store-sales growth for Q2 has not been released, it is expected to indicate negative figures from both food and non-food retailers, as this period represents the time when most of Thailand was in some degree of lockdown and retail closure.

After the easing of business restrictions started in June 2020, CBRE notes that many landlords continued to restore their businesses by stimulating customers’ purchasing power via a variety of sales and marketing strategies, grand sales events and setting up frequent mall activities to help both permanent and temporary tenants. A few provided more flexible rental terms to retain existing tenants.

CBRE also witnessed that retailers who used to rent a bigger retail space turned to online platforms and are now refocusing their businesses online after the crisis, resulting in resizing or cancelling their current rental spaces in many retail centres. The move ‘online’ was simply accelerated by the impacts of the pandemic.

According to the Asia Pacific Retail Flash Survey conducted in May 2020, the majority of F&B and other experiential retailers will be focusing on opening fewer stores or focusing on smaller footprints for the second half of the year.

“Once the situation returns to normal, resizing existing rental space will become a more and more important approach that tenants take to be more cost-effective, especially for small and medium ones. Shopping mall operators thus need to revise their trade and tenant mix allocation more granularly and carefully.”

Thailand’s Covid-19 experience has accelerated the changes of traditional retail businesses and accelerated the growth of online retail business at the same time. CBRE notes that developers could reconsider the development concept of new malls to better suit the changes in shopping behaviour and better adapt to any unexpected events in the future. Convenience, hygiene, flexibility and online will be emphasised more for future retail developments.

CBRE believes e-commerce penetration will not be an option but a must for both brick and click businesses to survive. However, the Thai retail sector will be slow to fully recover unless tourist arrival figures reach a similar level to the pre-crisis period as many large-scale shopping malls, especially in downtown Bangkok, are fuelled by foreign tourists.

For property, sales have seen a sharp decline in demand from customers and agents report a risk-averse market. The price of new opening units from many developer companies has dropped significantly in line with the lack of customer demand at this time.

• Ananda Development, a leading company in the property market, is offering special prices on projects near BTS and MRT lines. The price reduction campaigns include a free transfer of ownership and five years of free common expenses.

• Lumpini Development is another leading company offering special prices. Their campaign includes a special discount of up to 50 per cent on existing projects.

• Supattra Kaewkwang, a property agent in the Bangkok area, says that she has been facing hardship since mid-February as both Thai and foreign customers are afraid of the travel restrictions throughout the country. The ongoing border ban and widespread economic recession, in Thailand and overseas, has caused a decline in her sales of up to 50%, compared to 2019.

But Brennan Campbell, CEO for FazWaz, notes that there is also considerable pent-up demand and searches on their website are still strong, along with reliable enquiries still coming through their office.

“In the early stages of the Covid disruption, we saw strong enquiries from, particularly, the Chinese and Hong Kong buyers. In recent months, despite the lack of tourist traffic, we’ve also started to see more European and SE Asian customers start to look at Thailand as a safe and reasonably priced market to invest in as the world starts to re-open.”

Thailand's retail and property markets adapt and move online | News by The ThaigerThailand's retail and property markets adapt and move online | News by The Thaiger

Courtesy: Published at The Thaiger on August 25, 2020 by CBRE

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Hotel bookings bounce back for long weekend holiday


The long holiday weekend is reportedly seeing heavy bookings at hotels and resorts, reigniting hopes of a revival of domestic tourism, which has been battered for months by the Covid-19 outbreak. Accommodations in the southern provinces in particular have been receiving a good rate of bookings with holidaymakers for the 4 day extended weekend.

The tourism authoritiy of Thailand says hotels and resorts in coastal provinces in the East and seaside provinces in the South are reporting a surge in bookings to 80% and 90% occupancy over the 4 day weekend, which kicked off yesterday. It should be noted that not all resorts are open and than many have opened a select number of rooms, skewing the TAT’s rosy picture for the holiday break.

Tomorrow is a substitute holiday for Songkran and Tuesday is the birthday of HM King Maha Vachiralongkhorn.

In the eastern Rayong province, where an infected Egyptian airman stayed and sparked a public scare 2 weeks ago, a large banner was put up in the central business district thanking people nationwide for supporting the province through the crisis. It’s now been 14 days and none of those who came in contact with the Egyptian airman have tested positive for the virus. After testing thousands, authorities have declared Rayong is now free of Covid-19… again.

In Pattaya, several large beachfront hotels say their bookings have jumped to a strong 90% from July 24-28. Pattaya is one of the most popular seaside destinations as it is close to Bangkok. The heavy hotel bookings are believed to be a result of sales promotions and the Rao Thiew Duay Kan (Let’s Travel Together) tourism campaign, in which the government offers subsidies for holidays.

In neighbouring Trat province, hotels and resorts on Koh Chang and Koh Kut islands were nealry booked out. The province’s 2 ferry piers were jam-packed yesterday with cars waiting to board a ferry to the islands.

In Phuket, the director of the TAT’s provincial office said about 6,000 mostly Thai tourists visited the resort island during the previous long weekend from July 4-7, when more than 30 million baht was injected into the local economy. She says she expects the current long weekend will bring even more tourism money. Despite the positive outlook from the TAT, the island’s main tourist town of Patong has been very quiet with fewer than 30% of the shops open.

The Phuket province also expects about 50,000 medical and health workers to visit and take advantage of the government-sponsored Kamlang Chai (moral support) tourism program, which provides a discount for 1.2 million medical and health workers nationwide as incentive to travel.

Courtesy: Published at The Thaiger on July 26, 2020 by Bangkok Post

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Phuket Property Guide: Covid Crash – The real deal


In this series of articles we have presented detailed, reasoned and logical explanations for why we believe in the buoyancy of the Phuket property market, but our interpretation of real-life trends and data has been dismissed by some as self-serving propaganda for the property industry.

We accept that it is impossible to reach everyone, but we hope people will have read these articles with an open mind and recognise that a lot of thought has gone into dissecting the arguments for and against a “Covid Crash” in Phuket property. We have never claimed that 2020 is going to be a banner year for real estate on the island, but we also do not believe that the market is going to be offering historically deep discounts any time soon.

We would like to use our final segment in this series to address some specific arguments which have been presented to us by those convinced we will soon be able to find bargains galore. Some of our responses will obviously revisit what we have already written, so if you think you’ve read some of this before, well… you probably have.

1. The job of property professionals is to talk property up not down. That may be, but we have not simply said: “things will be fine because we say so.” We have devoted almost 5,000 words to explaining what we believe to be an informed position.

2. Another agent has told me to be ready to snap up bargains. Is this just sales hype? Yes and no. There will be some bargains, and some lucky buyers may pick up properties at discounted prices. But for the most part, our instinct tells us yes, a market offering bargains galore similar to some Western markets after a property crash is just sales hype.

Wherever most property markets have collapsed in the past, a lack of liquidity has almost always been a factor. Rising interest rates, banks not lending, foreclosures – these create imbalances in property markets which can lead to widespread bargains. Because properties in Phuket are almost entirely bought for cash, the market is far less susceptible to a crash.

Further, property sales here are driven by tourism. There have been nearly a dozen events in the past 25 years that have caused tourism in Phuket to suffer, and which people at the time thought would negatively impact the property market. The only one which may have had an impact was the Asian Crisis in 1997 because there was greater borrowing at that time. But the property market in Phuket was in its infancy then, and foreign borrowing is almost non-existent now.

3. We’ve not yet seen the full economic implications of a protracted lockdown (e.g. the consequences of job losses, rental losses, bankrupt businesses, higher taxes to claw back government handouts, depreciating property values in other countries, negative equity, mortgage default, negative sentiment, fear).

No we have not, but let us address each of the above:

Job Losses – If someone is still paying the instalments for a new build budget condo, and their finances are extremely tight to begin with, then this could happen. It is a point we have conceded already. But most people buying condos in Phuket already own property elsewhere, and are liquid enough to buy a property for cash. Unless that person’s only remaining asset in the world is their Phuket condo, a job loss will not force them to sell.

Rental Losses – the vast majority of people who own rental properties in Phuket have them to augment their income, not as their sole source of income. In a pinch, they will be selling their far more liquid stock and bond portfolios before any properties.

Bankrupt Businesses – Anyone with a business that goes bankrupt will have their personal assets legally separated from their business assets. Bankruptcy would not force the sale of their Phuket condo, unless it was owned by the company. Apart from that, the same would apply to anyone who lost a job (see “Job Losses” above).

Higher Taxes – raising taxes on those who can afford it in order to recoup some of these stimulus payments will not damage the economy. Vast wealth inequality is far more destructive to an economy than forcing the wealthiest individuals and corporations to pay higher taxes. The notion of taxes as an economic evil is a supply-side myth which has sadly come to be accepted as gospel.

Depreciating Property Values in Home Countries/Negative Equity/Mortgage Default – the assumption here, we can only gather, is depreciation sends the property into negative equity, which leads to mortgage default. Again, this has zero impact unless their Phuket property is the only thing they have left to sell.

Negative Sentiment/Fear – we’ve never known masses of people to sell their properties because they were scared.

4. You refer to Phuket returning to normal. It will in time, but this economic damage is unprecedented and the full implications are as yet very unclear.

It is widely accepted that this economic downturn will be the worst since 1929 (if it is not already), and we do not dispute this.

But if someone’s life is turned upside down financially, and they decide to put their property on the market, they will not immediately reduce their price if the property is not selling. Eventually, they might drop the price by 5% or 10%, but this is not Marbella, Las Vegas or Florida. Phuket has never been a boom-and-boost market, and we don’t expect the COVID-downturn to turn it into one.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on July 25, 2020 by Thai Residential

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Phuket Tourist Association tells hotels not to raise prices; be honest in marketing


PHUKET: The Phuket Tourist Association (PTA) has warned hotels and other providers of accommodation in Phuket against taking advantage of the government’s subsidy in the We Travel Together campaign by increasing their prices despite receiving a subsidy.

PTA President Bhummikitti Ruktaengam has addressed reports of price gouging at some hotels, making the final price guests have to pay higher than previously promoted, reports state news agency NNT.

Mr Bhummikitti said hotels are implementing different pricing structures, saying that reports of price gouging may actually be from the sale of hotel vouchers, not from actual bookings.

However, hotel operators should use simplicity and honesty in their marketing campaigns, especially during the current crisis, by transparently disclosing the actual full prices, and the final price guests will have to pay with the subsidy from the government subtracted, Mr Bhummikitti said.

With its economy relying heavily on tourism, Phuket province is facing an unprecedented crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NNT admitted.

With 14 million visitors last year generating B440 billion revenue, the present lack of tourists has already caused some B200 billion in damage to the local economy, according to PTA, the report noted.

The association expects the island province can at best generate B120 billion in revenue this year, if international tourists still cannot visit before the end of the year.

Given this situation, Phuket is now shifting its focus to domestic travelers. Some 35 tourism businesses in Phuket will be staging a travel fair at Siam Paragon shopping mall in Bangkok from July 20 to Aug 2, offering tourism packages at special prices, as well as local delicacies, emphasising to the general public that Phuket is now ready and eager to accept tourists, the report said.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on July 22, 2020 by National News Bureau of Thailand

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Thai hotels transform under the ‘New Normal’


BANGKOK: The changes being brought into effect in the tourism and hospitality sectors as a result of COVID-19 pandemic may well remain in place long after the “short-term” effects of the pandemic have gone, says a leading figure at the international property consultancy CBRE.

The hotel industry will undergo inevitable changes as part of the ‘new normal’, including an added emphasis on hygiene, a redefined restaurant concept, new partnerships and design alterations, explained Atakawee Choosang, Head of Capital Market – CBRE Hotels, Thailand.

The hospitality sector is now seeing both subtle and substantial changes, some already apparent today Mr Atakawee pointed out.

“With a sharp reduction in international visitors, the hotel sector took one of the hardest hits across the real estate industry during COVID-19. We see many hotel developers and owners of large hotels in Thailand, reliant on international inbound, temporarily shutting their respective hotel businesses as they are not able to be profitable even with the current shift towards domestic tourism,” he said.

“In tandem, owners across the board are trying to regain guests’ confidence with accredited hygiene standards and by adding new specifications and installations for health and safety.

“For the hotel guest user and owners alike, we believe this is a positive development.  The hotel asset type, in some ways should reflect a ‘second home’ on the road either in the short or long term, and while the common public space is easing up on its protocols, hotels will continue to have the highest standard of hygiene and cleanliness possible to build confidence with the guests,” Mr Atakawee added.

To improve hotel performance in the short-term, hotel owners in Thailand are focused on reassuring guests of their virus-free hotels by implementing new safety protocols like COVID-19 control and prevention training for hotel staff following the Ministry of Public Health guidelines and acquiring a series of ISO certifications and SHA from the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration.

In the long-run, partnerships with travel platforms such as travel agencies, tourism offices, airlines and tourist destinations will be crucial for business survival and growth.  Medical tourism, wellness certified hotel, and potential hotel-hospital alliances can play a significant role in recovering the hotel market and become a significant driver in future hotel concepts as Thailand already has, by nature, a strong and welcoming hospitality culture catering to the domestic and international aging population, he said.

“With public health at the forefront, Thailand has the potential to solidify its status as one of the front-runners in the medical industry. Thailand is one of the most successful countries in the world to battle the virus outbreak, in a short period of time the infected cases has visually decreased and the number of fatalities are at a minimum. Hotel developers may see this as an opportunity to target medical tourism visitors that, despite the recent slowdown, has been on the rise since 2016. Forming new business relationships with hospitals may be very beneficial for future hotel performance as well,” Mr Atakawee added.

In terms of F&B, the social-distancing policy has altered the hotel-dining experience, especially in terms of the seating and spatial configuration. The shortage of dine-in customers during the past few months has driven many hotel restaurants to compete with standalone eateries by offering food delivery services to drive additional revenue. Since the lockdown restriction has lifted, the new hotel dine-in experience has adopted additional safety requirements like physical-distancing by table, but also a higher standard of food handling and preparation, and potentially new dining concepts to cater towards smaller group sizes but in higher quantities.

Mr Atakawee noted, “Guests are now more conscious about social distancing and virus infection from food-on-display. It is possible that for the hotel F&B segment, less emphasis will be placed on all-you-can-eat buffets in favor of á-la-carte, set menu and chef table courses. If done well and creatively, this could result in decreased food waste, and a higher quality food.”

Changes from a hotel development and services standpoint are also in the pipeline for to restore the guests’ confidence, firstly by accommodating essential workers, primarily business executives, government officials and investors, who are among the first groups to be permitted to travel, with new facilities to support remote meetings directly from the hotels with in-room Zoom or similar applications.

Hotel management will likely continue its common area management: daily disinfection of the lobby, installation of air filtration, temperature scans, and hand sanitisers and alcohol-based sprays.

“However full-scale touchless technology, digital keys, digital check-in, and potentially ultraviolet and other unobtrusive virus-killing technologies could become the norm at branded and upscale to luxury hotels. The adoption of phonebooths for individual calls should become more prevalent, however it is to be seen if a reversion away from a communal approach to hotel design will be embraced since the community aspect is very much part of ‘lifestyle’ hotels which has become popular over the past several years.

“Regardless of positioning, hotels will need to strive for a symbiotic balance to support layout usability and a clear, harmonised health and safety protocol standard to be applied to every part of the hotel. It’s all about rebuilding the level of trust,” Mr Atakawee concluded.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on July 9, 2020

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Thailand’s hotel industry pushing ahead with recovery


Optimism is building in some corners of the hospitality industry as Thailand pushes ahead with it Covid-19 recovery phases. Occupancy rates in at least Bangkok and Phuket are likely to bottom out soon with the lifting of travel restrictions, according to JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group.

Thailand’s hotel industry is now entering a recovery phase following the country’s decision to issue a partial easing of lockdown measures, including inter-provincial travel restrictions. There is an expected surge in domestic travel and tourism with the reintroduction of domestic flights, and the slow opening of international borders in the coming months.

The country’s tourism and hotels sector has been significantly impacted since the first reported case of Covid-19 in Thailand on January 13, 2020.

“With the country introducing a government-directed lockdown and placing strict limitations on domestic and international mobility, revenue per available room trended downward during the first four months of 2020, led by declines in occupancy.”

However, optimism of a gradual recovery remains high for both markets, given strong domestic and global brand recognition and a mature hospitality sector well-prepared to align with stringent health and safety guidelines introduced by The Tourism Authority of Thailand ‘s “Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration program.

“In 2019, Bangkok was named, for the fourth consecutive year, as the most popular travel destination in Mastercard’s Global Destinations Cities Index, while Phuket was rated the #2 Most Popular Asia Destination by TripAdvisor.”

Chakkrit Chakrabandhu Na Ayudhya, Executive VP, Investment Sales, Asia Pacific, JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group says that Thailand’s hotel industry is a bellwether market in global and regional hospitality circles.

“Its Covid-19 recovery will be closely observed by operators and investors. With both government and bank support, we’re optimistic a market like Bangkok, with its well-balanced offering to business and leisure demand, will be amongst the first hotel sectors regionally to display meaningful recovery, whilst Phuket will take relatively longer as it relies more on international and leisure demand.”

The maturity of Thailand’s hotel space, as well as bank and government support so far, have helped the industry alleviate the full impact of Covid-19, despite wide-spread issues with cash flows and fixed operational overheads. JLL expects fewer distressed asset sales in Bangkok compared to other markets in Thailand due to robust balance sheets held by many owners. Investors have been looking for opportunities in Thailand, with greater interest expected initially from developers and private equity firms who tend to be less risk-averse as the recovery gains momentum.

According to JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality, operators and investors in Thailand’s hotel industry should also consider several factors to optimise their recovery strategies:

  • Critically evaluate hotel positioning and segmentation mix in light of extensive current supply and future pipeline.
  • Calculate breakeven occupancy and factor in gradual demand ramp up, taking into consideration potential travel bubbles being considered by the Thai government.
  • Focus on brand, operating and distribution partners when setting out a differentiating strategy to the local market, whilst following the opening of borders carefully.
  • Take advantage of the government’s domestic tourism promotion to help restart operations and build local customer loyalty; launch staycation packages to take advantage of pent up domestic demand
  • Look for every opportunity to get guests ready for post-Covid-19 travel, embrace the restrictions and set up health and safety protocols for the reopening.

Courtesy: Published at The Thaiger on June 30, 2020 by JLL

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Phuket Hotels Association looks to reboot island tourism with ‘Imagine Phuket’ campaign


PHUKET: In Asia’s first international destination recovery initiative post-COVID-19, the Phuket Hotels Association and global hospitality branding agency QUO have joined forces to craft an aspirational relaunch campaign aimed at reviving travel to Phuket.

The Imagine Phuket campaign focuses on the sights, sounds, feelings, tastes and – most importantly – emotions that Phuket evokes in fans around the world, making them yearn for all they have missed during the global pandemic.

Motivated by a desire to restore the island’s tourism industry and save jobs, Phuket Hotels Association kicks off the campaign with a fresh logo and video, designed to evoke in travellers how incredible it will feel when they can share a perfect vacation with loved ones again.

The initiative enables island hotels to come together with one voice and one message. Each property will be given the creative resources to personalize videos, images and logos with their own branding, creating bespoke versions of the campaign’s inspiring message. By reaching the combined audiences of 75 participating hotels in the private sector, there is the rare opportunity for authentic, large-scale virality.

Phuket has been one of the hardest-hit destinations in Thailand, and hotels have struggled to reopen.

In a press conference on June 10, Phuket Chamber of Commerce President Thanusak Phungdet told reporters that COVID-19 had already cost the island over B120 billion (US$3.88bn) in lost income, with losses expected by to reach B280bn (US$9.055bn) by the end of the year if the situation doesn’t improve. But despite unemployment increasing by over 34% YoY, according to local reports, island residents remain resilient. This campaign seeks to be the first small step toward recovery.

With Phuket Airport open, and Thailand poised to reopen to international travel this summer, Imagine Phuket reminds viewers of the flavours of Thai food, the dreamlike limestone karsts of the landscape, the beguiling smiles and the feeling of freedom that comes with every visit to Phuket.

“Phuket is the leading resort destination in Asia and one of the most loved resort destinations anywhere in the world,” says Anthony Lark, president of Phuket Hotels Association. “Our members have come together with QUO to create a campaign, in both English and Thai, to evoke the soul of the destination,” said Lark.

As Asia’s most-visited island destination, with over 10 million arrivals last year, Phuket is among the first to embark on a significant relaunch. In the months after reopening, Phuket’s hotel industry is hoping that it will be able to attract many of Thailand’s 20 million domestic travellers.

“The Imagine Phuket video, and integrated social media campaign, are designed to drive emotion,” said QUO CEO David Keen. “We know that there is a massive desire to travel again, both locally and internationally. Our intent is to bring the story back to Phuket.”

Aimed at the international market, the campaign will reach the audiences of the best-known hotels in Phuket. From signage to buttons to long and short videos, each hotel will invite the world to dream, plan, envision and – above all – to Imagine Phuket with hope and anticipation.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on June 25, 2020 by PR

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Resorts lower prices, offer promos for post-pandemic holidays


Hotels are ready to face off. After months of vacant rooms, prices are being cut to entice domestic tourists to book a post-pandemic holiday. Now provincial restrictions have been mostly removed

Depending on the province and risk of coronavirus transmissions, some hotels were ordered to close their doors completely. Now restrictions are being lifted and domestic travel is picking up again. The government just passed a 22.4 billion baht in stimulus packages to help out hotels many resorts and tour companies. On top of the boost from the government, hotels are slashing nightly rates and offering promotions.

It already looks like business is starting to boom. The Centara Grand Mirage in Pattaya has now been open for 2 weeks. Last weekend, their occupancy rate was at 70% – 80%. The rate for this weekend is expected to reach 90%. While weekends have been good, the days are at a 20% to 30% occupancy rate.

Courtesy: Published at The Thaiger on June 18, 2020 by Bangkok Post

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Phuket Hotels Association, Hotel Resilient to launch COVID-READY Certification in Phuket


PHUKET: The Phuket Hotels Association has joined forces with Hotel Resilient to launch the COVID-READY Certification scheme, a new initiative to provide guidance, resources and tools to support the safe reopening of hotels and to help restore confidence in the island’s hotel industry following COVID-19.

“Hotel Resilient is the world’s only scientific benchmarking and certification body for disaster-risk management and climate change adaptation in the hospitality industry. It provides hotels and resorts with risk analytics, digital platforms and pragmatic tools for disaster and climate resilient planning, design and operations, noted a release announcing the launch today (June 15).

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, Hotel Resilient highlighted disease outbreak as one of multiple hazards potentially impacting hotels. In the wake of the pandemic, Dr Trevor Girard, Director of Standards and Accreditation at Hotel Resilient, and his team of risk specialists have evaluated the scientific evidence, international guidelines and industry best practices to set new standards that cover all aspects of a hotel’s COVID-19 prevention and response strategy, the release added.

Travelers demand safety above all

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread to almost every country in the world, and its impact on the tourism industry has been tremendous. Due to travel bans and nation-wide shutdowns, hotel bookings have decreased drastically and many hotels have temporarily closed. Even when restrictions ease and travel bans are lifted, it will be some time before it is business as usual, noted the release.

For months if not years, travellers will be extra cautious with their travel plans, most likely preferring destinations with little to no COVID-19 cases. In terms of accommodation, hotels that can provide an extra level of protection against the virus will be in high demand, it added.

“The new COVID-READY Certification scheme will provide assessment, guidance and support to our Phuket hotels as they prepare to reopen,” commented Anthony Lark, President of the Phuket Hotels Association.

“Member hotels can obtain this internationally recognised certification, which will showcase Phuket as a safe destination and provide reassurance that hotels are working together to ensure the protection of their guests, staff and the community. Health and safety has never been more important than now, as we prepare to reopen our doors,” Mr Lark said.

Teaming up with Hotel Resilient marks the next major step in the association’s efforts to work together in restoring confidence in Phuket, and helping hotels prepare to resume operations with enhanced hygiene practices. Dr Bijan Khazai, CEO of Hotel Resilient, and the Hotel Resilient team will work alongside the Phuket Hotels Association, member hotels, and local authorities to develop supporting tools and support hotels obtain international certification, the release explained.

The Hotel Resilient COVID-READY Certification scheme is aligned with the internationally recognised Hotel Resilient global standards on disaster risk management. It goes beyond hygiene and safety, addressing systemic and  procedural changes to minimise risk and address various crisis management aspects, such as response planning, business continuity, and crisis communication with regard to COVID-19.

“These new standards are supported by a user-friendly audit and task management software that allows hotels to prioritise areas where action is needed  to improve their level of Covid-19 preparedness. In addition, interactive and engaging e-Learning courses are available on the platform, helping to bring hotel staff up-to-speed on the current COVID-19 pandemic threat and describing their roles in the COVID-READY standards, such as preventing transmission or responding to an infection,” said the release.

“The COVID-READY Certification scheme will make Phuket one of the first tourism destinations in the world to take a proactive approach to safety and hygiene preparedness, based on world-class standards. Once all 70+ Phuket Hotels Association’s member properties are audited and certified, it will provide a safer environment for visitors, hotel staff and the Phuket community,” explained Hotel Resilient CEO Dr Khazai.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on June 15, 2020

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