Property News

Property News Phuketwan Property News
facebook recommendations


Sign up now for our News Alert emails and the latest breaking news plus new features.

Click to subscribe

Existing subscribers can unsubscribe here


Wolfgang Meusberger, in the garden poolside at Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn Set for Mai Khao, Plus a Remake

Thursday, April 2, 2009
Phuketwan Resort Report

HOLIDAY INN will be the brand on Mai Khao's first four-star resort, expected to open in time for the 2010-2011 high season.

The resort, now under construction north of the JW Marriott, will have 220 to 240 rooms and a ''great pool, great restaurants,'' says Wolfgang Meusberger, general manager of the Holiday Inn Resort Phuket.

The Mai Khao development, for a Bangkok owner, will be the region's third Holiday Inn, joining the established resorts in Patong and on Phi Phi.

As well as making the occasional check on how construction is going on the island's north, Mr Meusberger has been kept busy, like all resort managers, by the economic downturn.

And he has his own special project to oversee: the remaking of 100 rooms, the foyer and the restaurant in the Busakorn Wing, the resort's eastern entrance.

Work that will give the wing more southern Thai character will begin in May and be complete before next high season, when all 405 rooms will again be available.

Always an advocate for Patong as a great year-round destination, Mr Meusberger remains optimistic about the Phuket region's ability to see through the economic downturn without excessive pain.

''You have to be relaxed,'' he told Phuketwan. ''You have to be proactive.''

While the Holiday Inn on Patong's beach road does have its occupancy ups and downs, they are probably not as pronounced as many other resorts.

''We always keep a long-term perspective on what's important to our customers,'' said the veteran of 18 seasons at the 21-year-old resort.

''Those hotels which have built up a loyal customer base are probably doing better than new entries.''

Whenever there's a hiccup, Patong too manages to also enjoy better sustained tourist numbers than other parts of the island.

''The latest trend when talking to people from the ITB Berlin show at the moment is that consumers are shopping around,'' he said.

''Lead times are also much shorter than previously. No-one books six or eight months ahead. Everyone is looking for a good deal. People are still hesitant about spending.

''On the other side, out of Europe, there is also an understanding that travel will be one of the last things that people will cut completely.

''They will travel less.They will travel more economically. They might only do one big holiday for the year. Or they might only do two small ones.

''They will be very clear on their budget. Discretionary spending on site will suffer. But I think that holiday travel going to continue.

''Germans, Europeans generally, I do not think they will stop travelling completely.

''I think Phuket is still doing better than many other destinations. I think the whole region, Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak, is generally doing better.''

He says partnerships with the big wholesalers are essential, but then so too is the other important part of the business, direct bookings. And charter flights, especially charter flights.

''As long as the charter flights are coming, I am not too worried,'' he said.

''There is a tendency to reward people, the so called early birds, I think we should reward them handsomely.

''There has not been a lot of pressure on rates reduction, although obviously, no-one is increasing their rates this year.''

He is confident that Thai hospitality will continue to weave its magic and that regular guests will return.

''Repeat customers come back because they like the individual hotel,'' he said. ''A lot of them bond with employees in the hotel, or a tuk tuk driver, or a masseuse on the beach, or a local shopholder.''

''Generally, repeat customers in Thailand form relationships with a lot of people. They interact during the holiday.

''When they have experienced this for four of five years, when they go somewhere else, they miss it.

''This is something we need to encourage more and more. This is the reason why customers come back.

''The sense of hospitality here is very hard to beat. If you talk to customers, a lot go to Malaysia, but few go back there.

''Vietnam, the same. When you talk to them, they say: 'Yes, it was nice.' But they usually come back to Thailand.''

Being optimistic, communicating with staff and not letting a doom and gloom atmosphere pervade the resort were very important, he said.

''We survived the tsunami. If we can do that, we can certainly come through a financial downturn.''

Phuketwan on New Mai Khao Five-Stars

Phuketwan Resort of the Year 2008 Award
Photo Album Phuketwan starts its second year with its first award for 2008, a new one, for the resort of the year. Take the tour of the resort we think tops the lot and sets the standard.
Phuketwan Resort of the Year 2008 Award

Anantara Opening Brings Optimistic Pickup Rate
A new resort brand brings fresh optimism to Phuket despite the residual rancour from the airport blockade and state of emergency. In Europe the reaction seems to have been: 'What problem?'
Anantara Opening Brings Optimistic Pickup Rate


Comments have been disabled for this article.

Wednesday July 24, 2024
Phuketwan - Your sweet Phuket, every day


Facebook Twitter