A group of hotels on Bangkok’s Chao Praya River have joined forces to create a new marketing alliance.
Announced at a press conference on Friday 18 April, the new Bangkok Riverside Marketing Partnership is comprised of the Anantara Bangkok Riverside & Spa, Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok, Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, Millennium Hilton Bangkok, The Peninsula Bangkok, Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside, Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers and the Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok. These properties plan to use their location on Bangkok’s up-and-coming waterfront to attract more groups and events.
“We have a unique proposition to make to the market,” Hilton’s Dirk de Cuyper told the press conference, adding that the alliance’s aim was to “promote Thailand, Bangkok and the riverside better”.
The partnership offers a substantial number of rooms and extensive facilities for groups. The eight hotels have a combined inventory of 4,512 rooms and suites, plus 43 restaurants, 17 bars, 112 meeting rooms and 13 ballrooms. This will enable the hotels to pitch for large scale MICE events of up to 4,000 people.
“The opportunities for these big events are immense,” Keith Hardie, general manager of the Royal Orchid Sheraton told Travel Daily. “Today’s launch is the absolute first step of a very long process, the beginning of a five to 10 year plan.”
And the alliance is likely to be boosted by the development of more riverfront facilities in future. A major new development is currently being constructed on the riverfront between the Hilton and Peninsula hotels, which is rumoured to include a convention centre, while Minor Hotel Group is building a new Avani hotel next to the existing Anantara.
Hardie also pointed out that the Thai Navy Hall and the Old Post office headquarters on opposite sides of the Chao Praya are also ripe for development.
The hotels stressed however, that while they will work together to promote and develop the riverside, there will be no common branding and each hotel will remain a competitor of its neighbours.
“We are individuals and that will remain with a strong partnership,” Katja Henke, GM of The Peninsula told the press conference.
Instead, the partnership will lead to a greater number of intra-partnership referrals, joint CSR initiatives and the development of a new website.
The hoteliers also said that the partnership is not a direct response to the recent protests in Bangkok, which have hit occupancy levels. Discussions about the alliance began before anti-government protests started, but the group acknowledged that their plans could help reboot the sector.
“We need to combine the efforts of the Tourism Authority of Thailand to bring back those tourists that have stayed away in recent months,” said Klaus Sennik, GM of the Ramada Plaza. “There is no doubt that that Bangkok’s MICE sector lost valuable business in the first quarter of 2014. Understandably, many event planners and conference organisers chose new venues – some in Thailand and others in neighbouring countries,” he added.