Francis Zimmerman, General Manager, Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa
1) What changes can your guests expect following the rebranding from Marriott to Anantara?
First and foremost is the extensive product improvements to our South Wing which included a full renovation to our guest rooms along with the introduction of 10 new and extraordinary Deluxe Suites plus an extensive upgrade and concept enhancements to our famous Trader Vic’s and Benihana restaurants. In addition, the Fitness Centre has been completely redone with the inclusion of top of the line fitness equipment. Our wonderful team of associates have been participating in intensive Anantara brand service training the past two months to ensure we represent all that is Anantara through its core values. Finally, we have a number of new service initiatives planned from check in, minibar service and two very unique programs that follow Anantara’s “indigenous expert’s” program. They remain a bit of a surprise and will be launched in November.
2) How have the hotel’s staff responded to the changes?
Very positively thus far and we have ramped up the orientation and training programs that have been introduced the past eight months. Being a franchised hotel, our associates have a keen understanding of the various brands managed by Minor Hotels and in particular Anantara. It will be an exciting changed not only for our associates to represent this exceptional Thai Hotel Brand but also for our loyal guests.
3) What are the resort’s major source markets, and do you expect a shift in guest profile following the rebranding?
Our hotel as a stand alone entity is well established in our key markets such as Germany, United Kingdom, Japan and Hong Kong. Our travel partners in these source markets have reacted positively to the upcoming rebrand. In addition, we look to open up new markets where Anantara has a very strong brand presence. Obviously, there will be some change in particular in the North American market but we will implement some new sales strategies particularly with online distribution to rebuild that market.
4) What steps are you taking to inform the travel trade of the hotel’s rebranding?
Our business is the service business and given the significance of this change we have been reaching out to our partners on a personal basis since the rebranding announcement this past March. In addition, we have sent a number of emails to keep them updated and we also have a final communication planned this month.
5) What further plans do you have to develop the resort?
Minor Hotels is very committed to the future success of this hotel and we will continue with our ongoing upgrades to the product and services. In addition, we look to tap into a number new markets to ensure a high level of business continuity.