Bangkok Marriott Marquis
Bangkok Marriott Marquis

Accor and Marriott hotels on how to adapt to the post-pandemic tourism

Bangkok hotels are trying hard to keep up with flash-speed changes happening within the hospitality industry

Top Koaysomboon
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The local hospitality industry, which usually accounts for 20 percent of Thailand’s GDP, is struggling to pick itself up. A number of short-term solutions have been put in place to curb the almost-zero demand from overseas guests. Asset World, the local operator of The Okura Bangkok and the Marriott properties in the city, has closed down its hotels. Those that remain open have resorted to accepting takeout and delivery orders from its kitchens, and to offer long-stay packages for stranded guests or those seeking to isolate in style—at shockingly affordable rates. A one-night stay with three meals at the Millennium Hilton now goes for less than B3,000. A week-long stay at local boutique hotel Craftsman is pegged at less than B6,000. These are bargain rates, if not downright steals.

Millennium Hilton Bangkok
Millennium Hilton Bangkok

Creative integrated solutions

French hospitality company Accor has taken a slightly different path. It now offers vacant guestrooms in ten of its hotels in Bangkok as makeshift offices for those who want to get their job done in a quiet and comfortable environment. Rates start from as low as B690 per day inclusive of lunch. “This is a great way to diversify and look after the needs of people living in Bangkok now that many offices are closed,” says chief operating officer Patrick Basset, Accor's COO for Upper Southeast and Northeast Asia and the Maldives over an email interview.

He also reveals a collaboration between Mövenpick BDMS Wellness Resort and Bangkok Hospital to launch a long-stay package, inclusive of daily checkups, for people returning to Thailand from abroad and looking for a luxurious space to self-quarantine. He emphasizes that Accor is looking to offer, more than just hotel rooms, an “ecosystem of experiences.”

Mövenpick BDMS Wellness Resort
Mövenpick BDMS Wellness Resort

  

Technology will come into play

"We expect the heightened awareness of health and hygiene to become the new norm," says Simon Bell, the general manager of Bangkok Marriott Marquis, one of Bangkok's largest hotels in terms of room. He's confident that technology will play a major part in the hospitality industry to encourage physical distancing after the coronavirus pandemic. "We foresee a rise in mobile check-in, virtual room keys and concierge apps, allowing guests to reduce the need for physical contact. In-room dining is also likely to become more popular. At present, Marriott’s customers can use their mobile devices to check-in, access their rooms, make special requests and order room service at over 3,200 hotels worldwide, and this is likely to be expanded in the future."

Meetings in the time of distancing

Since the MICE sector is responsible for a hefty part in revenue of giant hotels like the Marquis, Bell and his team is in the process of planning and preparing the new guidelines for meetings and events. "Video conferencing could also increase, but this is really only suitable for small-scale business meetings. Other corporate and social functions will return, but we expect to see a rise in demand for creative MICE solutions, including green meetings. However, despite all the technology and social distancing, at some point in time, it will be important for people to meet in person again, as networking and personal interaction cannot be replaced by technology. We are preparing our new guidelines for meetings and events which will involve event planners, our guest’s arrival experiences, event set up, food and beverage set up, staff service, and cleanliness & ventilation.  These guidelines are to be established to provide 360-degree preventive measures."  

Bangkok Marriott Marquis
Bangkok Marriott Marquis

Focusing on domestic and regional markets

When asked about the future market forecast, Basset sees local and regional tourism as the shining light at the end of the tunnel. “We are confident that domestic travel will be the first market to bounce back, so our focus will be on reaching the local market for staycations or domestic trips to resort destinations such as Phuket, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and more. We then anticipate the demand from regional tourists from the ASEAN to pick up once international travel restrictions are eased. We are confident that travel will rebound and, when it does, we will be ready to welcome our guests back.”

 

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