Booking lead time through most channels is short these days, therefore pre-opening room sales haven’t been good over the past few weeks.
TravelDaillyNews: You are entering the Thai market during a serious crisis due to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. How did that affect your pre-opening sales and how do you adjust your strategy regarding the targeting markets?
Mark Bulmer: We are entering the market at a difficult time. Booking lead time through most channels is short these days, therefore pre-opening room sales haven’t been good over the past few weeks due to coronavirus. We’ve also noticed a decline in enquires for residential meeting groups from abroad and several we had booked have cancelled or postponed. It’s difficult to adjust strategy at the moment because of uncertainty of how much longer the current situation will remain. A short term adjustment to sales and marketing strategies may not yield results right now when there is very low demand. Unfortunately, it’s a “wait and see” situation at the moment.
TDN: Bangkok is considered as a saturated market regarding the hotel supply and the competition pushes the rates lower than in other markets. What will be your pricing policy and how will you manage to achieve a higher than the average RevPar?
M.B.: Bangkok is a challenging market for a new Hotel and there’s a lot of competition in the upper-upscale and luxury segments on Sukhumvit in terms of both product and pricing. We have a fantastic new Hotel that we feel will stand out from the crowd. We will offer rates at a 5-star level and carefully monitor the market to ensure we’re competitive as a new Hotel. I’m confident that guests will find our hotel a great value proposition. As we establish ourselves in the market, we should be able to command the right price for our Hotel quality and service offering.
TDN: What is the profile of the guests you are addressing to?
M.B.: Due to our location, market positioning, our fantastic product and services, we will appeal to a wide demographic. Our hotel is contemporary, yet elegant and functional, with a focus on dining and bar options that have been created to not have a “typical Hotel” feel. The younger generation isn’t as attached to mainstream brands and there’s a demand for well-located luxury independent hotels that are dynamic and can focus on guests, business traveler and event planners specific needs. Our location, facilities and technology in guestrooms and throughout the hotel will appeal to short – medium-haul Asian markets of Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan as well as Australia, Europe and the US.
TDN: How would you describe the hospitality industry of Thailand compared to other destinations in Southeast Asia?
M.B.: Thailand’s hospitality industry is amongst the oldest and most established in the region. Thailand has always had a lot to offer in terms of cultural attractions, natural beauty, amazing food and entertainment. Bangkok is continuing to develop and modernize it’s skyline, with more options in the luxury and lifestyle segments. Despite increasing competition from Vietnam and other countries in S. E Asia, I believe there will always be a strong demand for Thailand. After all, Bangkok has been the most visited city in the world for several years and it’s also one of the highest return visit cities.
TDN: Carlton Hotel Bangkok Sukhumvit is characterized as a “contemporary” hotel. What new you bring to the hospitality map of Thailand and what is considered as your competitive advantage?
M.B.: Bangkok is a city that captivates everyone and has something to offer anyone at any market level. It’s a city that’s never dull, there’s a lot to explore culturally and endless cuisines choices, entertainment, nightlife, rooftop bars and spa’s. I’ve never heard anyone say they were bored in Bangkok. I think that’s why it’s the most visited city in the world for several years and why people return time and time again. All big cities have their strengths and their challenges. Bangkok continues to grow and develop and have more to offer. As with other cities going through fast-paced development, infrastructure, services and efficiency and environmental factors need to keep pace. Of course, that’s not a challenge unique to Bangkok.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.