60 seconds with… Michal Zitek, Area General Manager - Angsana Laguna Phuket

How is the general feeling and feedback from your team members and your customers now?

Angsana Laguna Phuket re-opened 371 rooms and 45 private pool villas on 1 September.  The resorts were closed by government decree on 13 April, so it was wonderful to re-open the doors, albeit to a greatly diminished market.  Our Angsana Team were honestly delighted to be back at the resort and active in hospitality again - the spirit of service that is close to our hearts and intrinsic within so many Thai people is evident more than ever.  Our current customer base is purely domestic market with majority of guests being Thai nationals and a smattering of long-term expatriates – quite the opposite off same time last year.  The general feeling remains one of optimism and there is a strong sense of community as our domestic travellers feel that they are contributing to the tourism recovery for their Kingdom whilst waiting for the borders to reopen.

What market trends are you seeing since re-opening?

The main market trend is currently that of purely domestic business.  Our current guests are very gracious and very family focussed in their activities and preferences.  The focus has shifted from the ‘flop & drop’ long days at the beach that were the wont of the European traveller.  Our domestic guests seem so much focussed on the destination itself, dining and other local experiences available.  As such Angsana Laguna Phuket has expanded our product offerings to include temple tours, culinary experiences, cultural excursions, beachside bonfires and enhanced recreational activities in our lagoon such as kayaking, catamaran, stand-up paddle board.  In December, the seas allow for the installation of our floating jetty pontoon so we will also be exploring more boating and sea-based activities.

What techniques have you used to build sales and re-engage customers?

With airports still closed to regular international arrivals, all our sales efforts have localised in order to appeal to the domestic market.  All on- and off-line advertising is produced in dual languages (Thai & English) and we continue to engage Key Opinion Leaders and relevant bloggers in order to reach into the domestic segment.  We also use some direct sales channels (coupon sites) to attract limited-time sales as well as a major focus on our restaurant offerings.  So many other restaurants remain closed currently and the Angsana restaurants, especially Xana Beach Club, enjoy the custom of many non-resort guests each day who are seeking authentic southern Thai cuisine & seafood in a beautiful location.

What advice do you have for anyone who now finds themselves redundant?

Stay strong, be resilient.  This is only a temporary set-back and there will be more opportunities coming soon.  We have also unfortunately bid farewell to some excellent and dedicated colleagues this year,  Through their own positive attitude and resilience, many of our former team have now found new employment locally or in other provinces or have themselves been quite entrepreneurial to set-up small cafes, grab’n’go concepts or other services.  Diversity and flexibility seem to be the magnet for opportunity.  We have also set-up our own jobs website for prior associates so that they can remain connected with Angsana and immediately re-apply for any positions that become available as more of the restaurants reopen and occupancies increase.  (Don’t worry – this is no competition for COREcruitment )

What positive lessons do we need to learn from what the industry has been through?

A few clichés come to mind as a response to this question… “Necessity is the mother of invention”, “Innovate or die” as the immediate survival strategies for any business.  Hope, perseverance, and the communication of the same to all stakeholders (staff, past/future guests, owners, local community) is critically important too. Perhaps most important is to acknowledge the magic of the human spirit.  Even in the most challenging of times, during the hotel closure and municipal lockdowns, the Angsana Team responded as a family and took care of the resort, took care of each other and remained in constant and supportive communications directly, via video link or social media apps.  Perhaps this is intrinsic in the nature of a hospitality professional or perhaps it is just humanity at its finest.  Either way, I am glad to be a part of such a dedicated team who has remained connected and even grown stronger throughout the ongoing management of this crisis.  We hope to demonstrate this to you and all our overseas guests as soon as the situation stabilises and international travel to Thailand recommences.

Angsana Laguna Phuket : https://www.angsana.com/en/thailand/laguna-phuket 

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Date Published: 18th November 2020