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Phuket’s tourist evolution – Diversity is the best option Part 2

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Phuket’s tourist evolution – Diversity is the best option Part 2 | The Thaiger

by Guest Writer

Our guest writer has been managing resorts around Phuket for two decades and has represented his brand at international expos along with promotions for Phuket over the years. His knowledge is first-hand and steeped in local experience. He has asked to remain anonymous.

Read Part 1 of the report HERE.

In Part 1 of the article we looked at the changes and evolution of Phuket’s tourist mix, the rise of the Russian market, then the Chinese and now the drop of both. So what can we do to continue to lure the Chinese travellers?

We need to learn about the Chinese market and guest’s expectations in order to be able to develop products, services and welcome them. You will see many hotels sending their sales teams regularly to China to the main line cities plus secondary cities to entice new business and to regain the confidence in our Phuket hotel products. In our case, when sales teams come back, they are expected to debrief the operation teams on Chinese guest expectations and the feedback from partners on how we can improve the service and products in place for our Chinese visitors. How many business do any research about their customers and what they actually want?

Here are some figures covering January to May in 2018 vs 2019 for the same period, about visitors to our resorts:

• Chinese guests, dropped 26.17%, year on year to date

• Russian guests, increased 22.99% year on year to date (this was a case of several tour operators consolidating their hotels to reduce inventory)

• South African guests, up 4.48% year on year to date.

• Australia and New Zealand combined, down 33.14% year on year to date (Phuket competes head to head with Bali and South American islands.  Price is the key to any packaging as guests tend to look at great value packages, and the money saved is then on hand to use once they arrive at the destination!).

The Thai Baht has had an effect on the ‘value for money’ traditionally associated with traveling to Thailand too. The Chinese Yuan end of June 2018 was holding at around 5.06 Baht per 1 Yuan, but today it is 4.46 Baht per 1 Yuan.

The Australian Dollar was nearing 24.75 Baht per 1 Dollar a year ago, but today is hovering at 21.30 Baht per 1 Dollar which has had a dramatic affect on the famous ‘deals’ which Australian travellers are so accustomed to and hotels rely on during the green season.

As the Indian market is now seen as a possible ‘mainstream’ market heading towards Thailand, hoteliers are being approached more and more to see if we are ready to welcome Indian guests. Traditionally heading to the more lively resorts, families are going to play an important part in future arrivals from the sub-continent too. 

Once again, expect to see a change in beach choice for families as the market opens up and recent improved air links with several major cities in India and Phuket shows that the future is promising for this market. Once again, a market we need to learn about and do our homework on guest expectations whilst holidaying here.

We have seen much ‘price dumping’ recently in the market place. By doing this, if a 5* property starts doing this, the situation ‘dominoes down’ the line to 4*, 3* and so on.  According to several partners both in China and Bangkok, this year has seen aggressive price dumping but as the overall demand is not there this is going to have a severe affect on future negotiations as it will be difficult to get prices up again in the future.

One way which many of us are coping with this is ‘value adding’ – by maintaining room rates but offering some inclusions or ‘give aways’ within the rate instead makes a product more attractive to customers. Rate averages after these inclusions (depending on how a hotel calculates them and allocates the charges) will reduce and this year we have already seen 2.67% lower average room rate ‘year to date’ compared to last year.

Packaging is also becoming a bigger norm with hotels offering set packages for several nights stay with some inclusions.  This we have tried in several markets and the response has been good. 7 night stays with a few additional meals, cocktails, prepacked laundry before going home, for example. Hoteliers’ costing teams are working harder than ever before to make sure that such packages produce returns whilst offering  guests excellent value for money!

As one of the most established Vice Presidents of Sales and Marketing mentioned a few months ago, traditional 2 year ahead contracts with tour operators is becoming less and less important as the market changes so rapidly these days. We need to work day by day or month by month to react to market demands more than ever before to ensure that we remain competitive, nimble and flexible.

As we enter the second half of 2019, sales team meetings are looking more and more at new emerging markets; at balancing the books by nationality with new channels of distribution both online and traditional holiday companies in more countries to ensure that resorts don’t rely on just a handful of nationalities as, after all, we really never know when some of our largest tourist-feeding nations decide to change their travelling habits.

As it becomes easier and cheaper to travel by air, and the number of countries, who are welcoming visitors and becoming openly competitive with Thailand, increases never forget that every visitor has a great choice of countries to visit.

We need to continually review our products and services to ensure that we are aimed at the correct markets, guest mix (families, couples, younger, older, etc) and today’s trends in travel.

Therefore we ALL need to ensure that we are top of our game and welcome guests with true Thai smiles and make sure that we provide a safe environment with excellent service plus offering superb value for money.

Finally we should never forget to show the true traditions of Thailand that have attracted visitors to the Land of Smiles for centuries.

Phuket’s tourist evolution – Diversity is the best option Part 2 | News by The Thaiger



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Phuket

Body of second missing Filipino found off Phuket

The Thaiger

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Body of second missing Filipino found off Phuket | The Thaiger

PHOTO: ejan.co

The body of the second Filipino who went missing late last Wednesday afternoon at Freedom Beach in Phuket has now been found and recovered.

The body was found between Phuket and Koh Phi Phi by a local fisherman around 12pm yesterday. His body was brought back to Phuket and arrived at Chalong pier yesterday afternoon.

The body has been identified as 29 year old Filipino Angelo Bien Rafael Cortez.

Angelo and 40 year old Noah Ibay went missing whilst barefoot paddling in the shallows of Freedom Beach on Wednesday afternoon when they were swept off their feet and out to sea by strong waves. Noah’s body was recovered on Friday afternoon and identified by relatives on Saturday afternoon.

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Business

X2 Vibe brand adds third hotel in Phuket

The Thaiger & The Nation

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X2 Vibe brand adds third hotel in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Existing X2 Vibe Patong hotel

Cross Hotels & Resorts has signed an agreement with PT Three Land for its third Phuket property, the X2 Vibe Phuket Patong Centre. Poised to open middle of 2021, it is a 50 minute drive from Phuket International Airport and a 10 minute walk to Patong Beach and the bustling Bangla Road walking street.

X2 Vibe Phuket Patong Centre will offers 323 guestrooms, all-day dining restaurants, café and bar, meeting room and fitness facilities. Key features include specially designed family rooms, a state-of-the-art kids club and a large adult swimming pool with sunken DJ Bar, underwater speakers, relaxing music and cocktails.

The announcement follows the debut of X2 Vibe Phuket Patong in September 2018 and the signing of Away Phuket Le Coral in May 2019. Cross Hotels & Resorts chief executive Peter Lucas said the company was very pleased to be signing a contract for its third hotel in Phuket.

“It is a significant milestone to be adding X2 Vibe Phuket Patong Centre to our growing portfolio of hotels in Phuket – officially recognised as one of Asia’s, and indeed the world’s, best places to visit.’’

“Phuket has been clearly identified as a key target destination for Cross Hotels & Resorts now and into the future.’’

Cross Hotels & Resorts currently operates 25 hotels across three distinct brands –X2, X2 Vibe and Away in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

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Phuket

Missing Filipino’s body found in Phuket, identified by family

The Thaiger

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Missing Filipino’s body found in Phuket, identified by family | The Thaiger

PHOTO: AsiaOne

A body, found washed up on Freedom beach in Phuket on Friday, has now been identified by family to be one of the two missing Filipinos.

The family of Noah Ibay arrived at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday to identify the body and meet the Phuket Governor, Pakkapong Tawipat. Mr. Val Simon Roque from The Philippines’ Embassy in Bangkok also attended the meeting with the family.

Patong Hospital confirmed that Noah had drowned.

29 year old Filipino, Angelo Cortez, remains missing. The search has now been extended to beaches north and south of Freedom Beach. Phuket has been pounded by rains and fresh south-westerly winds over the past three days.

Four Filipinos were reported missing after walking along Freedom beach on Wednesday. A few from a group of 13 went wading in the shallows and were swept off their feet by strong waves and washed out to sea.

30 year old John Tanghal and 51 year old Jose Tanghal were soon recovered. But Both and Angelo remained missing as rescue and search efforts continued in the fading Wednesday evening light.

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