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Seclusion in the Banyan Tree Phuket means privacy and a butler

How Bullseye Branding Aims to Splinter But Not Split Phuket's Banyan Tree

Friday, May 27, 2011
PHUKET: MOVES to market the Banyan Tree Phuket as three entities will be watched with great interest by the rest of the international resort industry.

Laguna Phuket, despite having been a prominent Phuket presence for decades, still manages to surprise and innovate.

LP Managing Director Michael Ayling confirmed the now-we-are-three Banyan Tree move today, describing the decision to target different markets in triplicate as a ''good idea.''

The Banyan Tree Phuket has grown over the years into quite a large resort of 173 units and the concept of separate identities certainly suits the William Tells of target marketing.

While the Banyan Tree Phuket will retain its appeal for the well-heeled general traveller, the joys of the 23 Banyan Tree Double Pool Villas will be aimed fairly and squarely at ''high net worth individuals,'' Mr Ayling said.

The Spa Pool Villas will be more closely associated with the Banyan Tree Phuket's renowned spa facilities, with the health and well-being market as the bullseye focus.

''We are fortunate that we already have separate reception areas for the resort, for the double pool villas and for the spa pool villas,'' Mr Ayling said.

''Guests will still share the Banyan Tree restaurants and other facilities.''

Travel Daily revealed the changes on Phuket in reporting that Adrian Croft is leaving Banyan Tree's offices in Europe to become director of sales and marketing at Banyan Tree Phuket.

''We have different clients in each accommodation, a huge mix which we think we can manage better,'' Mr Croft said. ''Pushing the resort as three separate brands will establish more specific markets.

''Repositioning and rebranding will take place in the next 12 months and staff are currently being trained.''

Banyan Tree was among the pioneers of luxury villa resorts, adding personal butlers amid privacy and a superb setting.

The new Banyan Tree project comes on top of Laguna Phuket's larger, more practical 500 million baht conversion of the Sheraton Grand Laguna Phuket into the Angsana from July 1, with the cosmetically enhanced new resort due to open in time for Phuket's next high season in November.

The Dusit Laguna Resort opened as Laguna Phuket's first resort in 1987 and was followed in 1991 by the Laguna Beach Resort. Both properties have recently been sold but remain important parts of the seven-resort Laguna Phuket ''destination resort'' model.

The Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket opened in 1992, with the Banyan Tree following in 1994.

These days, Laguna Phuket also includes the Best Western Allamanda, Laguna Holiday Club Resort and Outrigger Laguna Phuket.

Mr Ayling said today that more innovations could come in the new year. ''We're always working on things and there are a few projects bubbling away,'' he said.
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