Located an hour’s drive north of Phuket International Airport, JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa in Thailand is shifting its focus away from weddings and choosing to prioritise corporate events and meetings instead.
Several reasons behind this shift include the property’s expanded inventory of 420 keys, as well as its refreshed Grand Ballroom, part of the resort’s 18-month-long renovation and expansion of the resort. Aside from the 758m2 JW Grand Ballroom, the JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa features over 9,300m2 of indoor and outdoor event meeting space, including seven function rooms, and outdoor spaces like the Infinity Lawn and the beach.
“All this new hardware gives us a lot of impetus, putting us in a great position to attract medium-sized corporate groups of about 300 pax. MICE guests can also coexist quite happily with our leisure guests, and we want to rewrite the script on what a luxury property can offer.
“For example, one area of the resort, with around 160 rooms, can also be privatised for corporate groups,” Abhimanyu Singh, general manager, JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort Spa, told TTGmice.
For smaller groups of 20 to 30 people, the property’s brand-new two-bedroom villa can be hired for intimate events. Other property enhancements include the extension of the pool, now at 2.4km long, and the addition of a water slide, water trampoline, and wave pool.
Singh added: “I think the real key for us is the size of the hotel and the different venues people can enjoy. Corporates don’t have to be stuck in the ballroom all the time – we can arrange for floating coffee breaks in the pool, live cooking stations next to the ballroom for a gala dinner, and teambuilding exercises on the beach. Every night, delegates can also try a different restaurant – there are 11 restaurants and bars on-site – ranging from rustic Italian to a Japanese teppanyaki.”
The hotel also has several concrete plans in the pipeline, such as a Bamboo Shark nursery. Created in partnership with Oceans For All, the nursery will come online in 1Q2023. It will have trained conservationists onsite, as well as shark eggs, and tanks with adolescent sharks that will be eventually released into the ocean.
Also in the pipeline is the creation of a JW Garden in a plot of land behind the conference centre by 1Q2023. The aim for this garden is to grow as much produce as possible for the hotel’s use, and specialise in southern Thai crops such as rosella, Thai basil, and lemongrass. Singh’s plan is to eventually evolve it to a farm where chickens can be raised for eggs, and bees for honey.
Singh noted: “Such activities would appeal to corporate groups, especially since one of the top priorities of MICE groups now is to be working with hotels which have a heavy focus on sustainability. With more than 90 per cent of MICE groups coming from big cities, I believe both the nursery and garden would resonate.”
“Moreover, MICE groups these days are looking for unique and meaningful experiences, which is something that we have.”
Outside of the hotel, activities that can be arranged include a culinary tour or amazing race in Takua Pa Town, visits to the Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park and its surrounding waterfalls, and a day snorkelling trip to Similan Islands.
When asked what international markets they are targeting, Singh shared that the property is casting their net as wide as possible for the time being and targeting Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, the US, the UK, Germany, India, and China when it opens.
Aside from marketing and investments through its own channels, Singh shared that the property is also working closely with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to promote Khao Lak as a business events destination.