Banyan Tree remains upbeat about Bangkok

Banyan Tree remains upbeat about Bangkok

One year on from a very black day in the history of Bangkok, Banyan Tree has offered a positive outlook for the city’s hotel industry. As ‘red shirt’ protesters gathered on the streets on the Thai capital’s Ratchprasong intersection yesterday to mark the first anniversary of the bloody end of weeks of anti-government protests, Travel Daily spoke to the general manager of Banyan Tree Bangkok, Sriram Kailasam, about how the troubles had affected his property, and what his expectations were for the coming months. Recalling the events of spring 2010, Kailasam explained that the affects of those fateful days were still being felt across the industry. “It was a bit scary. We had seen the airport closures and other protests, but this was the first time we had been so physically close,” he said. Kailasam added that while Banyan Tree Bangkok – one of the hotels at the centre of last year’s unrest – was not physically damaged, the hotel suffered major damage to its business. “The whole hotel community suffered. Rates bottomed out, and we were forced to completed readjust our budgets,” he explained. Like many hotels in the city, Banyan Tree Bangkok has struggled to maintain rates since the unrest, but Kailasam told us that his hotel has made up for the decline in rates with a steady increase in occupancy, which has crept up to almost 70%. In terms of revenue per available room (revPAR), Kailasam revealed that for the first quarter of 2011 was up compared to the same period last year, although it still hasn’t recovered to levels on 2008 and 2009. He added that the Banyan Tree Bangkok’s strong F&B offerings, which include the rooftop restaurant Vertigo, had “saved” the hotel. Despite the return of protesters to the streets of Bangkok this week, and the impending elections in Thailand, Kailasam is philosophical about the prospects for the city. “It is out of our control,” he said. “I heard today that 1,100 rooms had been cancelled in the Ratchprasong area, but fortunately Banyan Tree hasn’t seen any. Bangkok has always offered fantastic value for tourists, and Thailand is still a very strong destination.”

Mark Elliott
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Mark Elliott
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