Almost 30 pc guests of Pimalai Resorts & Spa are repeat customers

Interview: Charintip Tiyaphorn, Owner, Pimalai Resort and Spa, Thailand
/ New Delhi
Pimalai Resorts & Spa
Almost 30 pc guests of Pimalai Resorts & Spa are repeat customers

Pimalai Resort & Spa is a 144-keys resort in Koh Lanta, Krabi, with 900 m of beachfront

Although the neighbouring Phuket is a big draw in India, not many Indian visitors to Thailand are aware of a pristine destination just next door and that too located in a spot that is one of the most iconic touristic destinations in the country. Pimalai Resorts and Spa in Koh Lanta, Krabi, sits across 100 acres of hillside estate with 900 metres of uninterrupted coastline of the Andaman Sea. With a mission to create greater awareness in the Indian market, Charintip Tiyaphorn, Owner of Pimalai Resort and Spa recently visited India. Tiyaphorn tells India Outbound that Pimalai is adopting a tailored approach to promote itself in each Indian city, banking on its exclusive offerings.
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Charintip Tiyaphorn

Charintip Tiyaphorn

What are the USPs of Pimalai?

The first thing is the beach and the 100 acres of the space that we have. And the design and layout of the villas in the mountains that ensure that everybody has privacy. And you have the ocean view villas with a very clear view of the ocean. At the same time, we make sure that we keep as many trees so that you feel like you are in the forest. We also provide our own excursions to nearby islands which belong to the national marine parks, where you have beautiful corals and lots of fish. That’s great for snorkelling and scuba diving. We have a scuba dive centre on site and the boat can take guests for scuba diving right from our beach, which is one of the key selling point for those who want to scuba dive or go snorkelling. We have partnered with a few local communities to promote ecotourism or to experience local culture and mingle with the local people. We also propose mangrove forest tours on gondola boats operated by the villagers nearby. We also have our spa, which is in the jungle too, it is not in the buildings. Instead, we have little huts along a waterfall. The moment that you walk into the spa, you feel very relaxed and listen to the sound of the water before starting the treatment.

How big is the Indian market for you?

Not very big at the moment, but we are hoping for it to be one day. Before the pandemic we had some Indian visitors, but it has not come back to the same number as before. But I think partly because of the flight connections that people mainly go mainly to Bangkok and not many from the Indian market know that there are other options, especially for those who are looking to be closer to nature. Only 0.4 pc of our guests are from India, which is very little. 

Which are our top source markets?

Number one is the UK, followed by Germany, France and USA. And that is because I think they have been to Thailand many times and don’t need to go to Bangkok or the big cities anymore. So they come straight to us and most of them are repeat customers. In terms of the Indian tourists into Thailand, for the first four months we have more than 600,000 Indian visitors in Thailand. So that’s a huge number and it’s growing. I can see that we have potential to really work in the Indian market.

What percentage among your guests are repeating customers?

It depends on the season. During a high season from November until April, repeating customers is almost 30 pc, which is quite high.

Do you have any upcoming plans for promotions in India?

I want to communicate and make sure that we offer the right things for the Indian market, propose activities that they may seek. I know that food is very important for the Indian market. We don’t have Indian vegetarian menu, but we have vegetarian in every outlet. But we would be happy to be flexible and cook according to your preference. 

So who are you competing with and how?

For the Indian market I think we are really not competing with anyone at the moment because the destination is quite unique and not very well-known in India. And on the island we are the only property with private pool villas on the mountains. So I don’t think that we’re competing with anyone. But in terms of destinations, yes, I think we are competing with Phuket definitely because we don’t have flights. A lot of Indians fly there and then to come to Krabi. So instead of getting them to fly to Phuket, I think we need to tell the market that there is an opportunity of doing a combination of Bangkok and Krabi to have a combination of a city destination like Bangkok and a beach destination like Krabi. 

What will be your focus in India, Tier I or Tier II cities?

I want to start working from city to city and focus on Tier I cities first because it is a big country, so I can’t go to all the cities at one time. So I want to focus on New Delhi first and then hopefully to Mumbai or other cities.

Any exciting activities that guests can look forward to?

Scuba diving is an exciting activity and we have one of the best scuba diving sites in Thailand. It is a little bit unknown because not so many people from Phuket or even from mainland come this far. So Koh Lanta is the best location if you want to do scuba diving or snorkelling. It is a great area and you often spot manta rays, their real charms and beautiful, colourful corals.

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