Saturday, August 23, 2008

Peninsula focuses on Asia

Peninsula focuses on Asia


The global economic slowdown, oil price fluctuations and local political uncertainty are leading the 10-year-old Peninsula Bangkok Hotel to focus more on the Asian market as visits by long-haul travellers from Europe and North America are falling.

General manager Charles Morris said the hotel was focusing on Asia, particularly Japan, where the opening of The Peninsula in Tokyo last year should help attract Japanese clients to the Thai hotel.

Mexico and Spain are also interesting markets, particularly for honeymoon guests, he said.

In the first half of this year, Asian markets accounted for 40% of the hotel's total guests and most of the rest came from Europe and the US. Occupancy was 74% on average, compared to 68% during the same period last year.

Mr Morris expected that the occupancy would reach 75% in the last quarter, which is the festive season.

Because several deluxe hotels are located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, competition for upmarket guests is high.

However, he said The Peninsula had maintained its strong position and was even able to increase room rates from US$235 to $250 per night despite many negative factors.

''We can do that because we have the distinctive point that the most of our guest rooms are facing the river,'' Mr Morris said.

For the rest of the year, he said, hotel operators should monitor political developments as well as the direction of the local and international economies because these may affect their business.

The Peninsula plans to stage four charitable activities to celebrate its 10th anniversary. They include an art exhibition, the Peninsula Lanna market, a charity golf tournament and a gala dinner in conjunction with Unicef Thailand.

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