AccorHotels expects Thai recovery “within three months”

AccorHotels has revealed the extent of the downturn of its Thai business in the wake of last week’s Bangkok bomb, but said it believes the city’s hotels can recover quickly.

Addressing media in Bangkok today, Patrick Basset, AccorHotel’s chief operating officer for Thailand and the region, confirmed that his company’s properties in Bangkok had experienced a 42% surge in revPAR (revenue per available room) in the first half of 2015.

Patrick Basset, AccorHotels' chief operating officer for Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines
Patrick Basset, AccorHotels’ chief operating officer for Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines

And while this growth was largely due to a poor 2014, when Bangkok suffered political turmoil, Basset also revealed that the company was seeing strong growth compared to 2013.

“The trend is very good,” said Basset. “Compared to 2013, we have double-digit growth. So it’s a very healthy market.

“In the week of the [bomb], we had a huge [number] of cancellations – THB13 million (US$364,000) worth of cancellations at our Bangkok hotels alone. Our occupancy in Bangkok, which had been around 85%, dropped to around 50-60% in this week [of the bombing],” he revealed.

Basset added however, that his company’s Bangkok hotels are still expected to finish “on budget” for August, owning to a strong start to the month. He then said that he expects to be 12-15% behind budget for September and 10% down in October, although he admitted it was “very hard” to make accurate predictions.

“Within three months we hope to be back to… normal,” Basset said. “But of course that depends on the situation – that there are no more events. These statistics are based on the fact that nothing else happens,” he cautioned.

Novotel Bangkok Impact, which is located next to Bangkok' main convention centre, has been affected by a downturn in MICE business (photo by iFocus)
Novotel Bangkok Impact, which is located next to Bangkok’ main convention centre, has been affected by a downturn in MICE business (photo by iFocus)

Basset told Travel Daily that the biggest downturn since the bomb has come from the Asian market; mainly Hong Kong, due to its travel advisory, but also “China, Singapore, Korea, Japan”. “We’ve not seen such a drop from the European market,” he added.

Asian countries now account for more than 60% of the business at AccorHotels properties in Thailand.

Basset also revealed that the “strongest” impact of the downturn had been felt in the MICE sector, and that this sector is also likely to be the slowest to recover.

“The MICE sector has been affected in Thailand for a number of years now. [It] has not been performing to its full potential for four or five years. This is a huge area of potential for Thailand,” he added.

Returning to the overall performance of AccorHotels in Bangkok, Basset said that his forecast before last week’s bomb was that full-year revPAR year would be up 15% compared to 2013. “With the new event, we will definitely lose half of that, so perhaps we can plan to finish [2015] roughly 7% above [2013],” he predicted

“Overall, I think the industry is optimistic that the rebound will be as fast as possible. But we do hope of course, that the situation will remain calm,” Basset concluded.

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