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Q&A: Royal Cliff on bold brand promises

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PATTAYA, 4 June 2019: Royal Cliff’s CEO and his marketing team identify the challenges and developments the group is making to stay ahead in the competitive market of hosting events.

Maria Gequillana, Marketing and PR Manager

Q: How do you view the business outlook for PEACH and its future role in the context of Eastern Seaboard expansion?

A: The Eastern Seaboard expansion along with the initiation of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) will definitely help hotels and tourism in Pattaya and its adjacent areas.

The planned industrial zones will provoke further development in the vicinity and will pave the way for the creation of new business ventures. As conventions are often industry-oriented events, PEACH will continue to meet the rising need for meetings and exhibition space. New enterprises will trigger a need for more events. 

More importantly, it will be a significant factor in helping Pattaya City and the entire province of Chonburi develop its business brand.  In order to become a destination that will engage the leisure, business and convention markets, Pattaya needs well-designed facilities such as PEACH to draw MICE groups (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) from around the world.

Also, conferences and events bring new expertise and ideas to the city creating an exchange and development of information. As a multi-purpose venue that hosts impactful events, PEACH will also help redefine the surrounding community and help Pattaya improve its tourism as a whole.  We believe that its constant development will contribute to the growth and vibrancy of the province of Chonburi as a MICE destination.

The business outlook for PEACH is very promising. We are fortunate to have many groups repeating their events with us again in 2019 as well as welcoming new ones. The events that we have are mostly major conferences, company outings, weddings, banquets and group incentives.

But we are continually exploring new technology and platforms to meet the current demand. We have also created some very interesting packages where we have worked with engineers and systems specialists to install the hardware.

For example, in our meeting rooms, we installed a system to pump in more oxygen to get everyone more alert. The coffee breaks and lunch menus are designed by our chefs to energize delegates throughout the day. We have different layouts for our meeting spaces that cater to various types of activities such as brainstorming sessions and workshops. All these will help us build our competitive advantage in preparation for the future.

Vitanart Vathanakul, Group CEO

Vitanart Vathanakul, Group CEO

Q: Royal Cliff is known for keeping a step ahead what are your plans for new projects over the next few years.

A: Royal Cliff Hotels Group has passed its 40th year anniversary. What has kept us going strong is the motivation to continue developing products to serve our guests better. From day one, our vision was to be more than just a resort. We have always embraced the objective of presenting a luxury destination and experience for our guests.

Looking at the near future, we are aiming to be the most admired Thai hospitality luxury brand for a holiday and MICE destination. In terms of development, we have many projects in the pipeline. We have just finished an extensive makeover of one our hotels.  We are about to launch a new e-payment gateway and a more dynamic multilingual guest messaging service that will be very useful for our guests.

We are also continually exploring new technology and platforms. We make sure that Wi-Fi is fast and reliable. In rooms, we provide the facility for guests to enjoy their devices which means that if they want to watch movies, or shows from their own hard drives or phones, they can easily connect to the in-room TVs. Our websites are in multiple languages so guests can get all the essential information they need. Our front office team uses translation apps to serve the customers better. If our international team is busy, guests can contact us via social media channels and we pledge to always provide a response within 24 hours.  Another project that is currently underway and parallel to the renovation of our hotels is the upgrade of our sports club. As we work towards the vision of being a destination that offers the best sports facilities, we plan to invest significantly to improve our Fitz Club.

It is also one of our priorities to invest in new systems that will continually elevate our clients’ experience when they have their events with us. Our Wi-Fi has the capability to serve over 2,500 devices at the same time. It can also support all multimedia and cloud applications.  What’s more, we have ensured our Wi-Fi is secure and difficult to hack. Hotel guests are worried about their personal data and privacy and we want our clients to know that we take this issue seriously. Interactive digital signage and wall displays are present around the Royal Cliff Hotels Group and Pattaya Exhibition And Convention Hall (PEACH). This technology allows organizers to present photos, videos and other important information in a timely and efficient manner for delegates.   Finally, we have just launched our new PEACH website which showcases many features that planners will love. Being in the business for over 40 years, we understand both the planner and visitor journey. We make it easy for them to get useful information when planning and our event inspiration page allows planners to see past events of various styles to enhance their imagination. 

As for beyond 2019, we are studying and investing in new technologies and facilities. In the pipeline, we are talking to various companies in the following fields: Multilingual interpretation system, advanced lighting technologies, augmented reality, guest messaging apps that are distributed across our team to simultaneously solve problems and systems to increase the oxygen flow in the meeting rooms to enhance productivity.

Q: One of the challenges facing resorts is how to provide an experience rather than just a stay. How are you adapting to this trend?   

Our success lies down to the mindset and the motivation of our team. To develop the right mindset, we pay particular attention to instilling the ‘Royal’ culture to our new recruits.

The organizational culture has been developed to involve everyone and ask them what types of behaviour and attitude are needed in order for us to see the company vision through.

From this exercise, the ‘Royal’ culture was born. Each letter from the word ‘Royal’ has a specific meaning. For example, R stands for Respect, trust and integrity while the word O refers to our ‘Obsession with Thainess’. When everyone adheres to the culture, they bring the right mindset and their hearts to work.

Another factor to help propel us forward is to differentiate ourselves from other resorts and hotels. Our aim is to be a luxury destination where people see us as a place for magical holidays and extraordinary events. The plethora of facilities that we present to our guests means that they can if they so wish to stay onsite for all their needs.  We offer many activities and experiences ranging from health and wellness programmes to Thai cooking classes. If our guests want to venture outside the property, we have also partnered with the best attractions to enable them to explore the Pattaya City in style. We try to make sure our guests enjoy VIP treatment even if they are outside the resort by informing our partners to take special care of them.

For events, we always aim to make them extraordinary. We continually ask ourselves what else we can do for our customers. For example, for guests who leave coins scattered around their rooms, our housekeepers came up with the initiative of creating a basket made of leaves from our gardens to put the coins in. If a returning guest comes back and the dish they particularly like is no longer in the menu, we will still make it for them.

Finally, we also work towards building a strong relationship with our guests. This means that we focus on learning about their pain and gain points.  We ask ourselves questions like, “What are they looking for?” and “What problems do they face when going on a vacation?” From this standpoint, we work out solutions that address these issues and prevent problems from occurring in the future. We prioritize solving every problem as soon as it arises and ensures that our managers are spending much more time around the lobbies and chatting more with our guests.

We aim to continually create wonderful memories from our guests. I have discovered from many guests who visited Royal Cliff 30 to 40 years ago with their parents.  They had a great time then and returned to enjoy the experience over again.  We want to continue building and creating these type of beautiful memories for the ‘now’ and next generation. The ultimate goal is to be recognised as a timeless luxury destination. 

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