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Prateek Kumar as Senior Vice President – Operations at Dusit Thani delves into the positive performance of the hospitality sector

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Published: Mon 30 May 2022, 5:25 PM

The rebound of the hospitality sector — The demand for travel has been very strong as people who have been stuck at home for months due to the pandemic, are looking to travel for revenge, hence the birth of the term ‘revenge travel’. Human beings cannot live without travelling and exploring our world is our innate nature. A video call business meeting can never replace meeting in person. Having said that, while we expect the sector to continue rebounding, the speed of the recovery will vary by market and country.

Dubai and the UAE in general had a text book response to the Covid-19 pandemic and created a role model for the rest of the world to follow. As a result, Dubai has been rewarded with record rebound in traveller numbers and the hospitality related business. As other countries open up, they will experience a similar growth in these sectors.

Looking further ahead, safety and confidence will continue to be key factors for recovery in 2022 — as will reducing barriers to entry for vaccinated travellers. With stringent travel restrictions still in place in China, the hospitality sector will be very much focusing on the Middle East, Europe, the US, and key source markets in Asia.

Latest technology trends that are reshaping the industry — The end-to-end mobile check-in experience, on-demand services, and automation of various tasks will continue to reshape the industry in the post-pandemic world.

So will the Metaverse, iOT, immersive technologies; VR/AR; blockchain; 5G and beyond as technologies continue to revolutionise all industries including travel. As more people spend time in the virtual sphere, hoteliers will be able to reach more customers in this area. And from virtual tours of rooms and activities, to tokenization of guest rewards, collectable NFTs, there’ll be huge potential to provide different hotel and hospitality experiences that complement and enhance the real-life experience.

What sets Dusit Thani apart and the key offerings — Our distinctive brand of gracious hospitality inspired by authentic Asian values is unique to the market. While our Thai DNA is certainly evident in each location, our gracious service is developed based on what is right for the destination, resulting in unique experiences, designed to exceed guest expectations across all our brands. We are also constantly evolving.

Over the past two years, we have not only taken the time to refurbish some of our longest-running properties, but we have also reimagined our services and operations to position Dusit Hotels and Resorts for maximum value creation in the new normal.

Responding directly to shifting consumer trends and expectations, we have introduced four new pillars of Dusit Graciousness — Service (personalised and gracious), Well-Being (delivering wellness experiences beyond the spa), Locality (uniquely linking guests with the local community), and Sustainability (social, economic, and environmental) — and begun creating new services, activities and experiences in each of these areas to ensure we bring additional convenience, experience and value to our guests and customers.

Devarana Wellness — As part of this, we have introduced our new group-wide wellness concept — Devarana Wellness — which is designed to weave well-being elements throughout the entire stay experience and address guests’ most shared concerns, including de-stressing, detoxifying, and enjoying a deep restorative sleep.

We have also introduced a new centralised Customer Experience (CX) team tasked with ensuring that each of our properties is positioned to offer unique experiences beyond the standards and capabilities of the competition. Local collaborations and community-centric events and activities are central to this.

Our portfolio now includes 47 hotels operating under Dusit Hotels and Resorts (comprising five distinct brands) and 271 luxury villas under Elite Havens, the leading provider of luxury villa rentals in Asia, which we acquired in September 2018. In total, this makes 318 properties (11,990 keys), operating across 16 countries. We also have more than 50 properties in the pipeline.

Unique synergies with Dusit International’s four other business units — hospitality education, food business, property development, and hospitality-related services — also add to the competitive advantage of Dusit Hotels and Resorts worldwide.

Hospitality-related services — Over the past three years, Dusit Hospitality Services (DHS) — including Property Management (which provides a full suite of services — concierge, maintenance, security, etc), Dusit Events (a high-end catering service), and Pre-opening Services (for various hotels and restaurants in Bangkok) — has gone from strength to strength, bringing consistent ancillary revenue to our company, while demonstrating high growth potential.

Recent milestones include leveraging our more than 70 years of experience in operating hotels to negotiate agreements to provide property management services for upscale condominium projects in Bangkok, namely COCO Parc Managed by Dusit Hospitality Services, an upcoming luxury residential project being developed by Ananda Development Public Company; and The Sukhothai Residences, a luxury condominium on Sathorn Road.

In 2021, DHS also signed agreements to provide training services for Altitude Development and Origin Property PLC, for projects being developed in Bangkok.

Heading into 2022, we see great potential for our property management services to spin off into a new business entity, and DHS will seek to collaborate with other leading condominium developers throughout Thailand to help make this happen.

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