Starwood Hotels & Resorts will focus on developing the mid-market segment in Bangkok, via its Four Points by Sheraton and Aloft brands, and will look to build brand recognition and loyalty to drive business to its range of properties. Speaking to Travel Daily before the annual Starwood Expo event, which took place yesterday at the St Regis Hotel Bangkok – Starwood’s newest hotel in the country – the company’s Regional Director of Sales & Marketing for Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, James Ramage, explained that while Starwood’s hotels in Thailand experienced a combined 5-6% year-on-year drop in revenue per available room (revPAR) in Q1 2011, the recently-opened Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok Sukhumvit 15 has opened with occupancy rates in excess of 80%.
“There is still huge opportunity for growth in Thailand,” Ramage said. “In Bangkok the mid-market will be driving growth, with our brands such as Four Points by Sheraton and Aloft. In Phuket the luxury sector will grow, although there will still be an opportunity for mid-market growth, as there will in Samui. The mid-scale growth will be driven by Thai, European, Chinese and Indian sectors, and opportunities also arise from Australasian visitors stopping over in Bangkok for one or two days on their way to Europe.”
Ramage also explained that in Bangkok, Starwood’s hotels in the Sukhumvit area of the city were performing well, and that the company is seeing the return of the corporate sector.
Aside the recently-opened Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Starwood has three other mid-market properties in the pipeline in Bangkok and Phuket – the Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11, Four Points by Sheraton Phuket, Patong, and Aloft Phuket Patong.
Despite the unrest of recent years, Ramage said that he saw a positive future for the Thai hotel industry. “After a year of challenges in Thailand, we are beginning to see bright spots in all segments of the travel industry,” Ramage said.