Phuket property briefs: Hotel search engine; SALA group; APEC
PHUKET: In an effort to keep revenue streams out of the hands of OTA’s (online travel agents), six major hotel chains have invested in a new hotel search engine called Room Key.
Joining in on the consortium are InterContinental, Hyatt, Marriott, Wyndham, Hilton and Choice.
Technology for the system came via a third party acquisition of ‘helicopter’.
Room Key DNA is said to be aimed at ease of booking, speed and simplicity.
Google continues to merge into peripheral spaces, and certainly this sets the hotel groups on a possible collision course with the mighty search icon.
Thailand’s SALA group expanding to 7 resorts
Upscale Thai resort chain SALA will open three new small boutique exclusive resorts within the next year as part of a brand expansion.
The three new properties are the SALA Rattanakosin Bangkok, SALA Ayutthaya and SALA Lanna in Chiang Mai.
Late last year the group purchased the beachfront Muang Kulaypan Resort in Chaweng Beach, which will be upgraded and renamed in 2014.
Currently SALA operate resorts in Phuket, Koh Samui and Khao Yai.
Speaking to Brian Moodie who is Vice President of Operations the brand is splitting up two product ranges with their full service resort and smaller more personal retreats.
In addition to the operators portfolio the group also own the Six Senses Samui.
Americans signed up for APEC travel cards
At last Barack Obama has signed an initiative for the US to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards Act.
In most international airports in the region the APEC card allows special access to fact track immigration lines. The program also allows for expending visa interviews.
APEC’s Travel Card program aimed at business travelers was initiated in 1997 and is now used by 18 out of 21 countries which are members.
The US Customs and Border Protection agency (under the Department of Homeland Security) is tasked to issue cards.
— Bill Barnett
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