Thailand’s most significant annual tourism and hospitality event brings 800 delegates together for a fast-paced half-day show at Conrad Bangkok. Thailand Tourism Forum Pushes Innovation Centrestage As Industry Leaders Debate The Future Of Hospitality.
As Thailand’s tourism industry powers its way into an accelerated recovery period, with international arrivals pouring in and China poised to create the next big wave, what’s the next step for the Kingdom?
The world has changed over the last three years, so how is Thailand innovating to reshape the sector, or is it back to the days of mass tourism?
An 800-strong crowd of travel and hospitality professionals took part and heard how Thailand’s tourism machine needs to reinvent itself and become a pioneering force in branding, design and technology if it is to emerge more substantial and more sustainable in the post-pandemic era.
Running under the theme “Innovation in Hospitality”, the creative half-day event featured top-level speakers and discussions on critical issues set to influence the industry in the months and years to come.
Thailand Tourism Forum (TTF 2023) returned to Bangkok on Monday, 16th January 2023, for its 12th annual edition to debate the issues and inspire future concepts.
Following an opening address by Bill Barnett, Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks, the event’s organiser, who explained “Why Thailand Must Innovate”, the forum’s keynote speaker took to the stage. Wallapa Traisorat, CEO & President of Asset World Corporation (AWC), Thailand’s leading hotel owner and developer, tackled “Creating a New Hospitality Landscape with Brands”.
Other vital issues on the agenda included “Disruption and Change in Hotel Technology & Distribution” with Liz Perkins, Hilton’s Vice President of Revenue Management & Commercial Services for Asia Pacific, “Rethinking Thai Design Culture” with Ho Ren Yung, Banyan Tree’s Senior Vice President of Brand & Commercial, and the “Challenges of Being a Hotel Owner” with Proudputh Liptapanlop, Executive Director of Proud Real Estate.
Delegates were provided with an update on Thai hotel transactions, financing by JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group and an analysis of the competitiveness of the Thai hotel industry by STR Global before Greenview founder Eric Ricaurte revealed his vision for the “Hotel of the Future”.
According to C9’s Bill Barnett, the major challenge that demands attention is people, or the lack of them wanting to return to the hospitality industry post Covid when over 1.45 million tourism jobs were lost. Thai’s no longer want to work in hotels, so our mission must be to innovate products and bring the best and brightest people back to the industry.
“The point was reiterated by Proudputh Liptapanlop, Executive Director of Proud Real Estate PLC, who said that Covid was a real wake-up call for owners about taking care of their people. Now is the time for Thailand’s hotels to change,” said Mr Barnett. “Where’s our pipeline of people? This is what will create success for the next generation. We have to pay higher wages.
We are all searching for how we can be fulfilled. We need to consider partnerships with brands to create unique projects that are integrated with the destination and bring local communities into the hotel experience.
“For me, innovation comes from constraints,” added Ho Ren Yung, Senior Vice President – Brand and Commercial at Banyan Tree Group. The key is to merge physical and digital to create seamless travel successfully. “For us, it is all about creating happiness,” she said. “We created the pool villa concept as we were not on the beach 30 years ago. We are introducing a product with no walls or doors to bring nature in.”
For Liz Perkins, Vice President of Revenue Management & Commercial Services for Hilton APAC, the most important thing is to create the right balance between technology and people.
Ms Wallapa Traisorat, CEO & President of AWC, “argued that product and brand integration was the key innovation for the future. Customers can still go to reception but what we are doing differently is giving customers a choice.” It should be an integrated customer journey.” For example, we introduced digital keys for a fast-track check-in.
Written by: Supaporn Pholrach (Joom)