Domestic courtship

As global travel remains subdued, Koh Samui’s hoteliers strive to capture local bookings.

As countries hunker down for a travel season focused on the domestic market, Koh Samui’s luxury hotels are doing the same in Thailand.

“With the domestic market being the only lifeline at present, we learnt very quickly that the key to attracting the local market is to use social media – such as Facebook, Line and Instagram – to both promote and facilitate simple transaction options,” shared Remko Kroesen, Banyan Tree cluster general manager for both Banyan Tree Samui and Banyan Tree Krabi. The latter opened its doors in October 2020.

Wedding setup at Banyan Tree Koh Samui

Kroesen added that other initiatives such as hosting bloggers or celebrities – who post regularly on social media platforms – have also helped to promote the resort and destination. Selling vouchers at travel fairs have proven popular too.

All these “attractive deals and aggressive promotions via the right channels” are key to driving business, cited Kroesen.

As for Meliá Koh Samui, the hotel is aiming to make its Sunday brunch profitable, said its general manager Ernesto Osuna.

Meliá Koh Samui has also packaged the brunch with pool and gym access, which has brought about “very good response” from both locals and expats. Previously the Imperial Boat House Beach Resort, the overhauled property opened just before the pandemic hit in January 2020.

Christian Lueke, cluster sales and marketing director for Meliá properties in Koh Samui and Chiang Mai (pre-opening), shared that the properties are now focused on “creating experiences” and additional packages that will entice the local market, such as add-ons like on-property childcare for parents.

The Thai government’s We Travel Together campaign, and Bangkok Airways’ Flyer Pass promotion in the past few months has given Koh Samui’s events industry a boost.

“This has encouraged some domestic group and incentive business, but numbers remain modest in comparison with destinations like Phuket and Krabi.

“However, weddings will continue to play a large part of (bringing) guests to Koh Samui as is one of the (country’s) most popular wedding destinations,” Kroesen told TTGmice.

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