In our new interview feature, GM’s Corner, Travel Daily chats with hotel general managers about the opportunities and challenges facing their hotels, and the industry.
This week we talk to Arthit Waitayaphat, GM of the Mandarin Hotel – Managed by Centre Point, Bangkok, about how his property is rebounding from the difficulties of 2014…
Q) How has the Mandarin performed last year, and were you badly impacted by the coup in Thailand?
During the first half year in 2014 we apparently suffered from many demonstrations by anti-government protestors. Many roads were blocked causing a lot of problems for travellers. Fortunately, because of our location and brand strength, we still managed to keep FIT customers. The main groups of our clients, the leisure as well as business travellers did not come to Bangkok until after the coup d’ etat and the country could maintain a certain degree of law and order. Once the country becomes more stabilised our regular customers start to return to the Mandarin Hotel.
Q) Are you now recovering and what are your occupancy forecast for this year?
At this point, we could maintain that our performance is back on track. We are confident that the occupancy rate for the year 2015 will be better than 85% provided that there will be no more problems in Thailand, especially the political problems and other ideological conflicts.
Q) What are your main guest source markets and are you seeing an upturn in business from Asia’s emerging market, like China or India?
Our main target markets comprise 50% European and American market and another 50% the Asian market. For emerging markets, China becomes one of our preferred markets, especially the upscale leisure and business travellers.
Q) The Mandarin Hotel has a strong focus on meetings and events, how has this sector of your business performed in 2014?
Mandarin Hotel offers eight function rooms with a grand ballroom which can accommodate from up to 1,200 people. We offer an array of flexible meeting configurations to accommodate any type of event. Out location in the heart of Bangkok makes Mandarin Hotel a popular choice as a luxury meeting and event venue. This sector performed very well in 2014 and our reservation for meetings and events in 2015 are quite good as well.
Q) What further developments or activities can we expect from Mandarin in 2015?
In 2015 the Mandarin Hotel will celebrate our 50th anniversary. We are quite proud that during the long period, we have achieved our goals of meeting and exceeding the customers’ expectations and requirements. Therefore we will celebrate our achievements and commitments through various campaigns, promotions and activities all year round. The grand celebration of 50th anniversary will be held in October, 2015 at the Mandarin Hotel.
In 2015 we will focus more on CSR, we plan to join with organizations or foundations to combat problems of poverty, environment as well as education. We will try to create awareness concerning these major problems and elicit involvement from our guests as well as from the public.
We will continue with our brand building activities, focus on our strength on customer cares and services. We hope that the Mandarin Hotel will receive recognitions for our ‘Care, Comfort and Convenience’ which are our main customer value offerings.