Thailand is currently among the global success stories in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, having effectively reduced community transmission to zero.
The only cases today are those returning from overseas and entering mandatory quarantine.
While Covid-free, however, the price paid by Thailand has been the strict closure of its borders, with Thai citizens abroad facing a challenging series of obstacles in order to return home, while foreign travelers who fall within one of the handful of categories permitted to enter must jump through even more stringent hoops. From the tourism perspective, Thailand is firmly closed, with no sign of the rules relaxing any time soon.
For Banyan Hua Hin, this situation demands a shift in strategy to focus on the Thai domestic market, which has amounted to little more than 20% of the property’s clientele during its first 11 years of operation. Famous as a resort offering health and active lifestyle facilities, as well as a golf course, Banyan Hua Hin must now persuade local customers to pick up the shortfall.
One major change has come at Banyan Village, which offers 17 private pool villas and 69 lagoon-side pool access villas. Each villa has an area of 120 m2 comprising two bedrooms and bathrooms, an open-plan living space, a fitted kitchen, and an outdoor garden with a terrace. These villas are fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including high-speed Wi-Fi, making them ideal for families looking to get away from it all. Seclusion is assured in the village, while daily housekeeping is provided.
Significant discounts at leading restaurants and other local attractions are also available to guests through the Banyan Privilege Card. According to Banyan Group CEO Tjeert Kwant, “the people who live or stay here receive this card, and can use a wide range of services in Hua Hin, from wine and dining to sailing or kitesurfing. It’s all about providing a hassle-free stay where we take care of everything about daily living so guests can focus on living a healthy and active lifestyle.”
Originally operating as a resort, around 60% of these Banyan Village units have now been successfully rented out on a long-term basis at THB 25,000 per month. Banyan Hua Hin has also recently appointed Christies to manage the sale of its ultra-luxury residences, which can be customized to the buyer’s wishes, to the domestic market as part of a fully integrated new strategy.
Furthermore, Banyan Hua Hin established its new Banyan Golf Academy on June 15 at the award-winning Banyan Golf Club, an 18-hole championship course designed by Thailand’s leading golf architect, Pirapon Namatra.
The Banyan Golf Academy provides a wide range of beginner packages, from the two-hour “Introduction to Golf” to the longer “Play Golf in 3 Days” option. Professional coaching is provided, supported by the latest video analysis techniques and use of the driving range.
July 2020 saw more than 2,000 rounds of golf played at the course, matching the figure for July 2019, and demonstrating that Thai guests have just as strong an appetite for healthy living as the international visitors who used to dominate the customer base.
Tjeert Kwant explained that in the wake of the lockdown, “it’s very important that people have the chance to escape the city and get back to nature.” He added that, “we have adapted our strategy to the needs of the market and we are delighted Thai nationals are embracing our concept of a healthy and active lifestyle.”