PHUKET: Moevenpick Resort Bangtao Beach, a luxury boutique hotel in Phuket, aims to raise its profile in the local arena by increasing the proportion of Thai guests to about 5% this year, up from a tiny slice at present.
The hotel opened officially in mid-2011. The new strategy is part of the operator's plan not to rely too heavily on foreign guests. At present, Russians are its main clients at 36%, followed by Chinese at 16% and Australians at 12%.
Michael Wenk, the hotel's executive assistant manager, said the Thai group had a lot of potential because of their growing purchasing power, especially wealthy families.
Half of the hotel's 40 units offer three bedrooms and penthouse service, a competitive advantage over rivals in Phuket. Many of its guests are family groups and honeymooners. It hopes its occupancy rate this year will increase to 70% from 65% last year.
Wenk said the outlook for the hospitality industry in Phuket was still optimistic, as it is a major destination for foreigners.
Clearly, the number of foreign tourists to the island has kept rising, especially from the Middle East, boosted by the introduction of direct flights by Emirates airline.
However, the competition is also high. Currently, there are many three- and four-star hotels opening to serve rising demand. Some have cut prices to attract guests. Wenk said his hotel would not jump into that game, but would offer additional benefits to guests instead. He has recognized that if the company joins a price war, it will find it hard to raise its prices in the future.
Moevenpick Hotels & Resorts is an international upscale hotel-management company. It operates 76 properties in 23 nations.