How long have you been with Angsana Laguna Phuket? What’s your position and what attracted you to the job?
I've been with the Angsana Laguna Phuket for just over two years, having joined prior to the renovation and re-branding in 2011. The opportunity to renovate and launch this flagship resort appealed after having worked at the Banyan Tree Phuket for three years.
What were you doing / where were you living & working before?
I was in China for two years, where I was part of the team that opened the Hotel Nikko in the northern port city of Tianjin.
Where are you from? What is your hometown?
I'm of Indian origin and spent my childhood growing up in Malaysia before attending boarding school in Bangalore, India. I then moved to Australia to continue my tertiary studies and eventually met my wife, Debbie, and set up our home in Melbourne.
What’s special / different about Angsana Laguna Phuket? What are its unique points?
Angsana Laguna Phuket is located on Bang Tao beach, one of the most beautiful beaches on the west coast of Phuket. It was actually built on an island in the middle of a large lagoon, within Asia’s first integrated resort, Laguna Phuket, also home to a select group of 4- and 5-star resorts, golf courses, spas and high-end residential living.
Why would someone choose to use your product / service compared to your closest competition?
We strive to provide a holiday experience that's a perfect balance of tranquility and activity, including perhaps the island’s best Kids Club, most fashionable Beach Club, Xana, a great selection of both Thai and western dining options − and our award-wining Angsana Spa. That’s on top of a variety of luxurious accommodation options for both couples and families.
What are the main challenges as they relate to your role?
The ever increasing inventory of hotel rooms in Phuket and the challenges associated with this rapid growth.
.…and what are the biggest difficulties you have to overcome?
Growing competition which, in turn, puts downward pressure on rates requires us to constantly innovate and differentiate ourselves from the rest of the market to remain competitive. In addition this growth has created a “staffing crunch” resulting in lesser qualified staff and higher wages. We remain very committed to recruiting younger and less-experienced staff and developing them through ongoing training courses.
What's your main target market?
Europe for the months of November to March and Asia for the remaining months. In addition, with two of the world’s most populated countries on our doorstep, in China and India, and direct flights, there is an ongoing focus to develop these countries into viable year-round markets.
Marketing is obviously an important part of every business – what's your approach to marketing Angsana Laguna Phuket to your target?
Marketing has become so much more complex in recent years, first with the advent of the internet and more recently with the social media explosion. We've seen our advertising spend change from being print-media focused to almost 50% now budgeted for online and digital advertising. In addition, the understanding of social media and review sites means spending an ever growing amount of time managing this space and maximising our reach through these channels.
What do you like most about what you do now?
This business has always been about people and I thoroughly enjoy meeting and working with people from around the world.
And what do you like least…?
The hours can be exhausting, especially during the busy months!
What do you see as your biggest successes to date?
The renovation, re-branding and timely opening of this 404-key resort in just five months in 2011 and successfully introducing the Angsana brand to this region in such a short span of time.
To what extent does the current global financial mess affect your business?
It has implications for our business, but where there are threats there are also opportunities and success in today’s business is foreseeing both opportunity and threats and reacting to each effectively.
Is Angsana Laguna Phuket involved in any CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programmes?
The Banyan Tree group, of which we are part, has a strong CSR philosophy with a strong focus on sustainability through protecting our environment and supporting the community in which we operate. Our corporate CSR 1-2-3 programme is aptly named as it involves establishing one initiative a year towards waste management or energy conservation, planting two thousand trees and providing mentors to three “seedlings” (young local students) to guide them through their secondary school years. That’s in addition to many other activities we undertake regularly with the wider local community.
What's your over-riding ambition at this stage in your life?
To ensure I provide for my kids through school, or towards whatever it is that they want to do, and look forward to retiring with my wife on a peaceful island paradise where days are filled with golf and enjoying holiday experiences that others create for me!
For further information about Angsana Laguna Phuket
10 Moo 4, Srisoonthorn Road, Cherngtalay, Thalang, Phuket
Tel +66 76 324 101 www.angsana.com/en/phuket