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Executive Interview - Mr. Suksit Suvunditkul, Chief Executive Officer, Deevana Hotels and Resorts Co., Ltd.

The current potential of MICE industry in Thailand in your opinion
Most of Thailand's MICE businesses are from Asian countries. Thailand is very strong in terms of location and infrastructure. Thailand has 11 international airports to welcome mass MICE travelers around the world. There are also several key MICE cities in Thailand, such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khonkean, Chonburi, and Phuket, with perfect facilities to support MICE events. All of the airports in those MICE cities also have expansion plans in the next 10 years to double capacity to serve more passengers. Moreover, infrastructure development in Thailand would serve and support the megacity trend in Bangkok and other MICE cities. These are the main reasons that make our country become an attractive location for big MICE events.

Business overview and Trend for 2019
Digital transformation trend has been changing the landscape of our business. The booking's lead time has been shorten for both leisure and business travelers. Hotels have to swiftly respond their customers' requirements and arrange events with tight schedules. Although the booking of leisure market has been shifted to online more and more, comparing to the past, MICE still needs organizers to assist and arrange the trips. Most hotels offer to arrange sustainable meeting packages for their clients starting from booking the environmental friendly hotels to planning the whole trip with sustainable theme. All materials used in events are free of single-use plastic and the events will not destroy or affect the environment of the destinations.

Vision and Business plan in time frame of 3-5 years
Deevana hotels and resorts comprise of 6 properties in Phuket and 2 properties in Krabi. Most of our properties are strong in leisure segment. Deevana Plaza is the brand for MICE travelers and the concept of Deevana Plaza is your choice for all occasions. Whether staying for business or pure pleasure, we take care of all your needs. Both Deevana Plaza Phuket Patong and Deevana Plaza Krabi Aonang have ballrooms, serving 300 pax capacity, and meeting rooms serving 60 pax capacity. All meeting facilities have been certified by TCEP. Approximately 80% of MICE travelers are from Asia such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and India. We keep upgrading and improving our hotels to maintain our standards and improve our qualities. We are upgrading our hotels' facilities in this year, including the ballrooms and other parts of the hotels. Our vision of Deevana hotels and resorts is to be the hotels that meet over 90% of guest satisfaction for every event and stay. Moreover, we are planning to build a 5-star hotel featuring around 200 rooms in Patong beach with 800 pax capacity ballroom.

The strengths of your business or business's competitive advantage
The hotel industry is becoming a red ocean due to many new hotels entering into the business. In order to keep up with the competition and escape from being left behind, we keep renovating and upgrading our products and services to maintain high customer satisfactions scores. We offer affordable products to our guests and believe that our facilities and services are value for money and are beyond their expectations. The hotels are located in the prime area, surrounded by shops, restaurants, and many attractions.We truly care for the environment and attend many environment certifications such as green hotel and green leaf. Moreover, we have launched the campaign of reducing single use plastic and offered biodegradable straws to our guests.

What’s your opinion about ASEAN Economic Community?
Thailand offers abundant resources and a skilled and cost effective workforce, where it be goods, services, capitals, investments, skills, and cultures facilitating in ASEAN. Many hotels hire staff or trainees from Asian countries. It takes less than 6 hours to fly from their cities to Thailand, and that makes it easy for them to come for work. At the same time, many Thais have chances to gain oversea experience as well. In term of investment, big companies from overseas have invested huge projects in our country and kept Thailand's economy strong. It is very beneficial for MICE industry in Thailand as our MICE business are mainly from Asian countries. Thailand is located in the center amongst ASEAN countries. It is a prime location that connects to other continentals.