Thailand has deservedly earned a reputation for excellence in services, especially in its hotel industry. However, the Thai model has been difficult to export abroad with few Thai hotel chains able to set foot abroad. Centara Hotels & Resorts recently set foot in the Maldives and is looking at more project in the UAE and India. Minor International Plc is represented with luxury resorts and spa under the Anantara brand in Abu Dhabi, Bali and the Maldives.
One of the most ambitious Thai companies looking abroad is the international hospitality chain Dusit. Last year, Dusit International was restructured with more emphasis to bring up overseas business. For the first time, Dusit International has appointed a global director of sales, Simon Burgess. With properties already in Manila and Dubai, Dusit wants to distinguish itself from the competition by emphasizing its “Thainess.”
“We look thoroughly at all our product and services in Manila for example and renovate the hotel completely to give him a distinctive Thai flavor. It is our best asset to distinguish us from other chains,” said Dusit Thani Manila general manager Kumar Prateek.
How does Dusit “Thainess” look like in the reality? In Manila, for example, all staff is dressed in traditional Thai outfits and greet visitors with Thai “wai,” joining both hands. Players from Thailand greet guests in the lobby with Thai traditional melodies. The use of Thai art, silk and gold painting provide such a distinctive Thai atmosphere that “some guests wonder really if they are in Manila or in Bangkok,” added Prateek.
Royal Thai cuisine is served at the Benjarong Restaurant and one of the highlight is Devarana Spa, which offers all the range of Thai traditional massage and aromatherapy.
“We added even little touch such as lemon grass burners in the rooms or main public facilities. We also organise events around Thai festivities such as the coming Songkran festival [Thai New Year], most of the time in partnership with the Thai Embassy,” said Prateek.
Prateek has actively worked with Thai expatriates and business communities in Manila to turn the Dusit Hotel into an embassy of Thai art de vivre in the midst of the Philippines capital.
Similar experiences are provided to Dusit Dubai properties and to future properties. “It will definitely give us an advantage over our competitor,” explained Burgess.
Dusit said it is looking at managing new properties in both Bali and Vietnam as well as in Europe in a very near future. Munich seems to be poised to become the first European city to have this very special “Thai embassy.”