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Interview

Salilla Atikarnbodee (The Salil Hotel Sukhumvit 57-Thonglor): We strive to create a new culture of living in Bangkok

Theodore Koumelis - 08 August 2017, 00:21

We had the opportunity to meet with the Managing Director of The Salil Hotel Sukhumvit 57 - Thonglor, Ms. Salilla Atikarnbodee. She talked to TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific about the project of The Salil Hotel Sukhumvit 57 - Thonglor.

TravelDailyNews: What is your inspiration to build The Salil Hotel Sukhumvit 57-Thonglor?
 
Salilla Atikarnbodee: Our plan is to build a new hotel every other year. Before building the new The Salil, land prices and construction prices have been increasing, hence we thought we must do a more premium brand in order to answer to that. Then, branding and concept must be enhanced tremendously in order to achieve that, not just a nicer hotel and charge higher price.
 
TDN: How “Concept Living Space” comes and why?
 
S.A.: We are not building a hotel nor a boutique hotel, we strive to create a new culture of living in Bangkok. From the sketchbook of Jason Brooks that portrays variety of ‘living life’ scenarios in Europe whether it be for coffee drinking while chatting with friends, book reading in broad day light, buying magazines or just walking down the street. The inspiration of the ‘no limitation on use of space’ concept was the birth of The Salil Hotel where hotel visitors are free to do whichever they please; eat, stay, play, relax, work, or shop within the hotel, and still do it in style. The Salil Hotel welcomes guests to the true meaning of ‘living’ same as an owner of a well-kept home would welcome their special guests. Design of hotel was created out of aspiration to use the spaces at their best personalities but yet functional with a touch of care.
 
TDN: How much of investment for The Salil Hotel Sukhumvit 57-Thonglor?
 
S.A.: The investment amounts to 600+MB THB and it concerns land, construction and decoration.
 
TDN: How is different between The Salil Hotel Sukhumvit 57-Thonglor and other Salil hotels? What is The Salil Hotel outstanding point?
 
S.A.: The Salil Hotel has a story and branding that makes it more of a premium, or you would say 5 star positioning. Styles are all European, but for The Salil, it’s European with Asian represented through storytellers, (Birds, trees) that go along with the branding. Designed service are more superior than others. All comes from concept living space Concept. Other hotels are 3.5-4 stars, this one is 5 starts.
 
TDN: Who is The Salil Hotel target customer?
 
S.A.: The target customers are both leisure and corporate, 50/50 for this hotel for segmentation. Asian markets are around 70% but we have a flow from US, UK, Europe (30%).
 
TDN: What are The Salil Hotel goal? How many average room rate and occupancy do you expect?
 
S.A.: The goal is to reach minimum of 5000/room/night ADR (entire hotel) and 90% minimum OCC for 2017.
 
TDN: What is your strategy in the current extremely competitive situation in hotel industry?
 
S.A.: Hotels around here have to not only compete with hotels but also serviced apartments. Hence, we build to accommodate both short and long stay. Guests would find everything they need inside their room, i.e. workspace, large bathrooms, pantry, kitchen, full sized refrigerator, laundry room.
 
“Concept Living Space”:
 - To create the unfamiliar, unheard, and uncommon concept 
 - To create demand instead of react to it
 - We design for real living
 - We design for spaces’ best personality but yet functional with a touch of care
 - Layout of facilities: areas are integrated to make best use of space, can do anything anywhere, and with ease of movement
 - Can do several of the key 6 features in any venue
 
TDN: Please describe about “Concept Living Space” and “Six Element? How does your concept beneficial to clients?
 
S.A.: We believe in feeling at home. Home is where you can do anything, wear anything anywhere. And the Concept Living Space answers to that. Guest will feel like they are being welcomed by a host of a well-kept home. 
  
TDN: Who does The Salil Hotel consider to be direct competitor? And what is the strength of The Salil Hotel, compared with its competitor?
 
S.A.: We compete more in the sense of geographical areas, hence that includes all hotels and serviced apartments in Thonglor and Ekamai mainly, then those around Sukhumvit 24 as well.
 
TDN: Why guest have to stay at The Salil Hotel Sukhumvit 57-Thonglor?
 
S.A.: Besides the unique concept that goes into reality (concept living space), we also:
 - provide not just ‘good service’.
 - provide DESIGNED EXPERIENCES through anticipation of needs and creation of demand. Hence, guests ‘feel’ it.
 - Differential Strategy that goes well beyond the name, the brand or the chain.   
 - provide activities, playroom,  etc.
 
TDN: Thailand is considered as a cheap destination and hoteliers complain that there is an oversupply especially in Bangkok which leads to lower occupancies and room rates. Do you agree with this statement and what should be done in your opinion?
 
S.A.: I agree. Hence room rates are hard to grow. Then, that’s why Salil Group believes in creating strong brand, strong concept and strong positioning in order to stand out. We never aim to fight with prices.
 
TDN: With the globalization in hospitality services many countries lose their local characteristics since architecture, room designs, and even services follow international standards. As a result, especially in the big cities, the travellers cannot identify the uniqueness and the localization of hospitality services. How you enhance the local experiences your guests receive in your properties?
 
S.A.: Thailand has always been strong about service style which has been known worldwide, especially the Thai hospitality and Thai smiles. With us, we enhance that with heartfelt service that goes hand in hand with caring, anticipation of needs, and understanding of guests’ situation. Having said that we stay strong in our global standards that we feel are still very necessary as we have travelers from around the world. 
 
 
 
Salilla Atikarnbodee grew up and spent most of her childhood days in Kon Khan province due to her parents’ job assignment. During high school, she moved back to attend Triam Udom Pattanakarn and Triam Udom Suksa, respectively majoring in Math-Science.
 
She aimed to attend the faculty of Accounting of which she succeeded. Her desire was to in banking industry. Hence, she took on internship at the famous SIP program by Bangkok Bank, a program that focuses on Business, Leadership and Social responsibility so that students can later on apply to their work life.
 
After graduation from her bachelor’s degree, she went on to work at a Finance company, then off the US for MBA in Finance at Saint Louis University. She came back to Thailand to work for Bangkok Bank Asset management then moved to Citi Bank before coming back to Bangkok Bank Asset Management again. Her work life balance at the time was not fitting her lifestyle as she had gotten married and was pregnant with the first child.
 
That was the birth of the first hotel, Saill Hotel Sukhumvit 8 which only had 30 rooms. Then, expanded to Salil Hotel Thonglor Soi1, and Salil Hotel Sukhumvit 11 and Vince Hotel. The latest and is The Salil Hotel Sukhumvit 57 – Thonglor.
 
Now Salilla is happily married with 2 children, ages 8 and 10 both attending Shrewsberry. Her family time includes weekends family time and summer travels mostly.



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