GRAND HYATT Erawan Bangkok has revised its marketing strategies to reclaim lost business after the deadly bomb blast at a famous shrine located next to the hotel two weeks ago.
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Gordon Fuller, area vice president of Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and general manager of Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, said the hotel would focus more on wholesale markets, particularly from Hong Kong and Singapore, for the rest of this year. Meanwhile, it will attract independent travellers from other core markets including Middle East, the United States, and the emerging mainland China market.
The hotel is also in talks with the Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau on how to bring tourists and business travellers back into the area.
It is also coordinating its plans with other hotels in the Ratchaprasong area.
“My hotel received heavy booking cancellations during the first 24 hours after the bomb. One of the big events scheduled for [the day after] the blast was cancelled, and that is a substantial number of cancellations. But this will be a short-term impact,” Fuller said.
He added that total cancellations as of last Friday were about 1,000 room-nights. It was hoped that some would rebook their rooms.
The hotel’s occupancy rate is expected to drop by 20 per cent this month, while the rate for the entire year is expected to fall from the initial projection of 85 per cent to 80 per cent.
After the attack on the Erawan Shrine on August 17 that killed 20 people, Centara Hotels and Resorts said the group lost more than Bt10 million from room cancellations and a huge drop in food and beverage consumption at its hotels. About 3,400 room-nights were cancelled, mostly at Centara Grand at CentralWorld (900 room-nights), Centara Grand Ladprao (800) and Centara Pattaya (700).
AccorHotels experienced a similar impact, as it lost about Bt30 million from cancellations, particularly by business travellers. The average occupancy rate at its hotels in Bangkok dropped from 85 per cent before the incident to 50-60 per cent during the week after the blast.
Fuller said the 380 guestrooms at his hotel, including 44 suites, were operating as normal, but its Erawan Tea Room was closed because of damage to the glass from the blast. The room is scheduled to reopen by the end of September after replacing the broken glass.
So far no staff have been laid off, but the hours of casual labour have been reduced because of less business. He said the hotel would face more challenges in the remaining months of the year, but it was obvious that Thai tourism still had a bright future for the long term. International visitors trust Thailand, and that will result in the sector’s fast rebound after the crisis. To increase customer confidence, the hotel has tightened security, including by improving its surveillance-camera coverage.
The hotel is also going ahead with the final phase of renovation for two big suites, scheduled to complete by the end of next month. It has finished refurbishment of its other rooms.