In an interactive session, Vitanart Vathanakul, shares experiences of his journey as the CEO of Royal Cliff Hotels Group and Pattaya Exhibition Convention Hall (PEACH) with MICE Travel Advisor readers. He also talks about his plans and dreams to outlive in stiffer competitions in the hospitality industry.
What services and amenities are you offering for the promotion of your property in the hospitality and MICE industries?
Vitanart Vathanakul: The first exciting development we want to share with everyone is the completion of our new infinity-edge pool. The latest addition is the largest disappearing edge pool in Thailand, over 160 meters in length and the only one in Pattaya with a magical view of the Gulf of Thailand. We have named this the Sky Aquarium pool due to the see-through glass-covered edges and floors where onlookers from a distance can see the inside of the pool. To make the aquarium pool more stunning, we have added a pool bar with a view of the Coral islands. Royal Cliff Hotels Group now boasts 3 infinity edge pools for our guests. Children will also be in for a treat as they will get their designated pool connected to the main pool with mini water slides and a water playground. In addition, we have redesigned the outdoor landscape by the pools for multi-function purposes, and it features a surf skate area, an outdoor spa, and many props for creating your photo album.
Since the pandemic hit in 2020, we took the opportunity to upgrade our product, add new facilities and renovate the property as much as possible. We have completely renovated our rooms and suites at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel, and all the rooms are fitted with new furniture and bathrooms. Our suites offer a modern design and a classic Thai style to suit different travellers’ tastes. As for the technological upgrade, we have installed the new Wifi-6 system. All our rooms offer the new IPTV innovative solution so guests can use their favourite apps, including Netflix, Disney+ and more. We know the importance of having fast and reliable Wifi, so whether you are on a Zoom meeting, playing games, or conducting a webinar, you can be sure that you will receive a seamless internet experience. We are also offering great value hybrid meeting solutions for M.I.C.E groups.
For the food and beverage front, we have recruited a world-class Chef’s team, and we are in the process of redesigning the menu. Guests can look forward to multiple options, including healthy menus and more creative coffee breaks during meetings. We have also installed brand new coffee machines and now offer a variety of delicious coffees of premium quality. In the pipeline for 2022 and beyond, we are working on becoming a wellness destination. Our Cliff Spa won the best Spa award in 2019, and our sports complex (Fitz Club) is becoming a popular choice for professional sporting events. The success of both facilities has inspired us to develop the Royal Cliff to be the leading sports and wellness centre in Thailand.
What has been your tourist footfall in the year 2021 and 2022 till date? What type of tourists (upscale/midscale) do you expect in the upcoming tourism season?
Vitanart Vathanakul: The majority is from the domestic market, followed by Europe, India and the Middle East. Fortunately, the Thai government has helped the hospitality business with various subsidy programs, including the ‘We travel together application’ and Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau support. We hope that the government can keep rolling the subsequent phases of these programs. Our forecasts show that we are getting many upscale family bookings and small M.I.C.E groups from the corporate sectors.
Please tell us something about the responsible and sustainable tourism approach taken by the Royal Cliff Hotels Group. What are your plans for the future?
Vitanart Vathanakul: We recently won the ASEAN Green Hotel Standard Award and the prestigious Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards. The Green Multiples @ Royal Cliff Project details Royal Cliff’s commitment to conserving natural resources by reusing various items within the organization that helps maximize cost-effectiveness and help reduce environmental pollution. The Company’s guests and business partners are also encouraged to be part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Five initiatives are introduced in the project, which different departments oversee. Each year, the committee looks through and revaluates the success of each activity. The five initiatives are:
1. Wastewater Treatment Facility
2. Keycard Holder Return
3. Biogas Production
4. Food Waste Recycling for Fertilizer
5. Reuse of Laundry Bags, Bed Linens, Towels, Flowers and Papers
Our plan for the future is to utilize technology to conserve more energy. We have also invested in electric vehicles to replace the existing cars we use to escort the guests around the resort. We have installed electric charging stations to encourage people to bring their electric transportation to the Royal Cliff.
Please enlighten us with the statistics of the events you have secured in 2022.
Vitanart Vathanakul: This year we have many exciting and prestigious events in the pipeline. Around 50 M.I.C.E groups have confirmed with us. This month the electrifying bare-knuckle fighting championship took place at our convention centre, Pattaya Exhibition And Convention Hall (PEACH). This is the second time the organizer has chosen our venue and has decided that PEACH will be the official centre for the fighting championship. Other upcoming sports events include Squash Tournament, ITF Tennis Masters Tour and E-sports. In June, we will be welcoming the Club8 Supercar club for the second time. It is expected that over 30 supercars, including Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren, Bentley and Maserati, will be parked around the resort. For domestic groups, we have several doctors’ conferences confirmed. We are delighted that the very prestigious Capital Markets Academy group will return to us after a decade at the end of May.
In terms of big international conferences, we are looking forward to the International Conference on Family Planning, which partners with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We are hoping that over 5000 delegates will attend this conference.
We managed to confirm multiple groups because of our team’s hard work in enhancing the hygiene level and commitment to solid safety measures. These efforts resulted in Royal Cliff winning the best SHA hotel award in Thailand out of thousands that competed. To date The Royal Cliff Hotels Group has won over 250 awards.