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The pool is just one of many Sarojin experiences.

Trends: 'Summer sale' boosts Sarojin

Sunday, January 6, 2008
Look for TRENDS here weekly
THE SAROJIN is among the top trend-setting resorts along the Andaman coast for a lot of reasons, but mostly for its inspired marketing.

Nobody knows more about selling a resort than these people. So when the Sarojin announces a ''summer sale,'' it's worth looking more closely.

For those who haven't heard of the award-winning Sarojin, it's a small boutique resort of 56 suites and residences on Cape Pakarang in Phang Nga, north of Khao Lak. It was within days of opening when the 2004 tsunami swept through.

The owners, Kate and Andrew Kemp, thanked their lucky stars that construction problems had delayed opening, then took the brave decision to do it all again as fast as possible.

With Kate selling the Sarojin and the region to the world at travel fairs and industry gatherings, they garnered appropriate rewards for their never-say-die boldness.

At the World Travel Awards in 2006 and again to their surprise in 2007, The Sarojin won the title of Asia's Leading Boutique Hotel. The Sarojin also picked up a World Luxury Hotel Award last year.

Along with Le Meriden Khao Lak, where the owner lost a daughter yet decided to rebuild immediately, the Sarojin led the recovery of Khao Lak and the entire region.

Without the Kemp's efforts, that battered portion of the Andaman coast would not be celebrating such a remarkable high season in 2007-2008.

More substantial brands waited two years or longer to rebuild, let alone go on an international marketing campaign.

Even resorts that survived the tsunami relatively intact sat back and waited and waited, hoping for customers to return.

By contrast the Kemps, utterly wiped out, just did it all over again.

This year, the Sarojin ''summer sale'' takes their marketing recovery story to a new level.

Having achieved good occupancy rates through the past couple of high seasons, Kate Kemp is now putting into action a plan to lift their green season numbers.

On Phuket and in Phang Nga, the mass of high-season visitors is helping to create a different market for May to October.

There may be a little rain, but holidaymakers can actually enjoy some crowd-free activities then.

Kate Kemp has carefully planned which national audiences to target and when, and her ''summer sale'' mailout is aimed largely at Britons and Aussies. Other nationalities will be targets at other times.

The Aussies, she says, are mostly on holiday now and planning another long break. Likewise it's time for the chill-bound Britons to plan their extended summer holiday.

''March is too late,'' Kate Kemp says. ''People are planning their mid-year holidays six months in advance.''

Headed ''Summer promotion and elephants!'' the Sarojin email goes on to sell the options.

''Stay four nights/pay two nights'' is the general idea, with complimentary elephant treks and spa massages as an added inducement to visit between May and October 2008.

While the Similan Islands are closed to divers at that time of the year, Kate Kemp believes the jungle offers all kinds of natural attractions and fun that can only be found in a rain forest.

''White water rafting, for example, is best when there's a good volume of water,'' she says. ''There are five parks in the region, off the beaten track.''

The Kemps, mean while, are eyeing another resort project. Having looking at Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, Kate Kemp now marvels at how fortunate the Hong Kong expat pair were in finding Cape Pakarang within three months of beginning their search.

''Thailand remains the outstanding destination, above anything else in Southeast Asia,'' she says.

While good bargains can still be found all along the Andaman coast during the low season, it's worth noting that at least one big resort on Phuket managed in 2007 to charge high-season rates in June and July.

Those ''summer sales'' may not last forever.

The Sarojin can be contacted on +66 (0) 76 427900 or e: reservations


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