14 March 2003
Armed with a new product and an aggressive sales and
marketing team, Shangri-La Bangkok is set on becoming the
leading hotel on the Chao Phraya river.
General manager Adrian Mueller (pictured) said that
despite the fierce competition in the Bangkok market, the
new product, US$20 million later, and smart marketing will
enable the hotel to claw back market share.
The renovation programme took two years, longer than
expected as the hotel maintained full operations throughout
This had its inevitable impact on business, particularly
from European tour operators.
This year, the hotel is out to regain its position in
tour brochures as well as corporate books.
Mueller said it was difficult to estimate the market
share it lost over the last two years because "we had so
many events that happened. September 11, Bali and now the
threat of war".
"But we are now focused on winning the business - we are
going to every trade show this year. We had a good start to
the year, the leisure segment for the first eight weeks of
this year was up 30 percent over last year.
"In February, we did 78 percent occupancy and I know
most of our competitors did well too."
He is mindful of the competition, particularly from the
Peninsula across the river, which has gained from the past
two years of a weakened Shangri-La and has emerged as a
Said Mueller, "They are a fierce competitor but also a
friendly neighbour. We work together to make the case that
the river is something special. But, of course, we compete.
If I can steal one room night, I would. There would be no
He expects to run in the high 60s this year on an
average rate of US$110.
All work on guest rooms and public areas has been
completed. The Horizon Club rooms and lounge have been
re-designed to reflect a more contemporary feel.
A new spa is planned and will be completed by end of
this year. Said Mueller, "We are very excited about our spa
project, Chi, which we will manage by ourselves. We did not
want to do it with someone and have another brand.
"We have taken a different approach by not following the
South-east Asian/Bali-type spa in terms of design and
treatments. Ours will incorporate European wellness with
our Chinese heritage."
Mueller said the Bangkok spa would become the showcase
for other Shangri-La spas - the group is planning five to
eight spas in the next couple of years.
Being a latecomer to the spa game has its advantage, he
"It means you can do it right and learn from others'
mistakes. The ones that are three or four years old already
will have to reinvest. We will be launching our spa
squarely in the five star segment."