Dusit Thani levelling up through travellers

Dusit Thani levelling up through travellers

The key to attracting more guests is flexibility

When facing the challenging circumstances amid the pandemic, a timely business adjustment could be a critical point for hotels to survive.

Suphajee Suthumpun

Suphajee Suthumpun, group chief executive of Dusit International, said once the travel restrictions within the country were eased, domestic travellers who travel for leisure purpose were the first group to travel, followed by the domestic business travel.

Hotels that serve leisure purposes included resorts and villas in tourism destinations who were the first to see locals come in since the end of May.

In the next phase, regional guests from Asia will be at the forefront to visit Thailand during the last quarter or early 2021, but mostly will focus on business travellers first. By that time, city hotels and business hotels will gradually start to pick up.

"Meetings and exhibitions will be held as hybrids, mixing between physical and virtual experiences instead of full-scale events," Mrs Suphajee said. "Hoteliers in this segment have to be well-prepared for this change by providing conference facilities or equipment."

The last group are global travellers that may come back around mid-2021, but with a different manner of new hygiene practices.

She said that every hotel has to comply with the new safety and hygiene standards, physical distancing and contactless services to bolster confidence among tourists in the aftermath of a crisis.

Dusit Thani aims to run their properties under the "Dusit new normal scheme" with five key aspects in the long-term plan to deliver services, adopt more technology such as providing digital menus and high-speed internet.

With the lesson learned about the pain point regarding cancellation policies, she said guests can have more flexible stays with flexible check-in and check-out times, as well as 24-hour room service.

"Customers will receive Dusit Care Kit or a personal protection pack consisting of hand sanitiser, alcohol spray, face mask, gloves and special shoes as the additional welcome gift," she said.

Mrs Suphajee said to curb the worries of guests about being exposed to the virus, hotels in each area will come up with in-room personal shopping service for famous local goods. Guests can enjoy shopping in the areas without going out by themselves.

An environment of safety was created by implementing automatic sterilisation spray, deep cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects, surfaces and public area every hour to reassure guests of their safety.

She said that Dusit Thani's hotels aim to make indoor fitness facilities outdoor instead, which has better air circulation and reduces risk of transmission within closed areas.

The company is also aiming at diversification as it has been on track to grow the lifestyle hotel sector under the Asai brand and luxury villas under the Elite Havens brand to serve a wider range of customers.

As of April 2020, Dusit Thani has 328 properties in 14 countries, of which 38 are hotels and the rest are villas.

There are two Asai brand hotels due to open this year, on Yaowarat Road and Sathon Soi 12.

The plan for the mixed-use project Dusit Central Park continues unabated by outbreak, on schedule for opening in 2023.

Mrs Suphajee said there is no plan to invest in big projects this year as the company has to manage cash flow efficiently.

She said the outbreak is a driving force for Dusit Thani's digital transformation because employees can become better acquainted with technology and gain more digital literacy from working remotely.

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