FACE-TO-FACE: Samir Wildemann

Samir Wildemann
Samir Wildemann

Today Travel Daily goes Face-to-Face with Samir Wildemann, General Manager of the brand new Okura Prestige Bangkok…

 Q)           Okura Prestige a new brand for the company. What can guests expect?

We are the first Okura Prestige to open anywhere in the world. A second property opens soon in Taipei and some 20 more are planned by 2017. Okura is new to Thailand but it’s an iconic brand in Japan, synonymous with traditional Japanese hospitality. We’ve merged those qualities with Thailand’s own unique style of service and culture. We harmonise the Japanese principle of ‘Wa’ with Okura’s philosophy of Best ACS (Best Accommodation, Best Cuisine, Best Service) to create a hotel that offers unforgettable hospitality, comfort and luxury in a city well known and appreciated for its outstanding levels of customer service.

Q)           What are the key selling points of the Okura Prestige Bangkok?

They certainly include our prime CBD location, three outstanding restaurants, a cantilevered swimming pool and impressive facilities for conferences and events. We’re also a very environmentally-friendly hotel, as part of the iconic Park Ventures Ecoplex building. We’ve taken huge steps to minimise our carbon footprint. All 240 rooms and suites offer impressive views across the dynamic Bangkok skyline through triple-glazed tinted panoramic windows that insulate against both heat and noise and make a substantive contribution to reducing energy consumption. The rooms combine comfort and luxury with the very latest technological developments designed to impress business and leisure travellers. We are part of an impressive new structure on the Bangkok skyline that combines functional, energy efficient concepts with a unique architectural form that embodies the Thai ‘wai’ – a symbol of welcome and thanks.

Okura Prestige Bangkok
Okura Prestige Bangkok

Q)           What is your main target market?

We certainly appeal to business travellers from other markets in Asia such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan as well as the Americas and Europe. We offer fabulous deals for singles, couples and families visiting Bangkok on vacation. We enjoy a fantastic location with direct access to the BTS Skytrain network at Phloenchit station. The hotel is close to commercial centres, shopping malls and is convenient for downtown embassies and consulates. Many of Bangkok’s finest and most popular tourist attractions are within easy reach of the Okura Prestige Bangkok.

Q)           Are you concerned about overcapacity in Bangkok’s luxury hotel sector?

We are heartened by the TAT’s commitment to attract a greater number of higher spending visitors to Thailand. Rather than focus solely upon total visitor numbers we should be combining resources (public and private sectors) to generate increased spending by visitors. Competition remains healthy in Bangkok and the city offers probably the best value anywhere for five star accommodation.

Q)           What are you doing to create brand awareness?

The usual mix of up and below-the-line activities. Social media, inevitably, is playing an increasingly important role. Our sales team is very active in local and international markets and the travel trade is playing a vital role in creating additional awareness of a brand that’s well known in Japan (Okura Hotels & Resorts was founded in 1962) but that is new to Thailand.

Q)           MICE business is picking up in Thailand. Good news for the Okura Prestige?

Absolutely! It’s an extremely competitive business sector but we do offer flexible quality space in a prime, downtown location. Conference delegates always enjoy visiting Bangkok and I’m confident we can secure a slice of the MICE business that’s heading back to the city.

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