The buzz returned to Bangkok with this past week’s South East Asia Hotel Investors’ Summit (SEAHIS), as the in-person event at The Westin Grande Sukhumvit welcomed guests and panellists offering ideas for revitalising the hospitality business in a post-pandemic world.
SEAHIS 2022’s programme included 960 speakers and more than 30 panel discussions and presentations on topics of interest to hotel investors, developers and franchisees. This year’s edition marked a return to full-fledged regional attendance and featured industry leaders like Dillip Rajakarier, Raj Menon, Katerina Giannouka, Suchad Chiaranussati and KP Ho. The summit also saw the revival of participatory round tables.
The two-day conference, organised by hotel investor alliance HOFTEL, enabled speakers to present strategies for boosting hotel revenue as the COVID-19 crisis fades and tourism rebounds. These approaches include non-traditional income streams like rooftop destinations — a concept embraced by Soho Hospitality, the developer of the Fraser Suites Sukhumvit serviced apartments in Bangkok.
See and Be Seen
When the 163-key Fraser Suites, managed by Singapore-based Frasers Property, was completed in 2007, its utilitarian rooftop played host to the usual mess of pipes, water tanks and air-conditioning units.
“Soho Hospitality strategised a vision for a bold new rooftop restaurant and bar in 2011 at the rooftop of the Fraser Suites Sukhumvit in the bustling Soi 11 neighbourhood,” CEO Rohit Sachdev said Tuesday during a panel discussion moderated by Mingtiandi founder and managing director Michael Cole.
After 10 months of design development and construction, the rooftop venue, called Above Eleven, opened its doors in April 2012. With its Japanese-Peruvian fusion menu and eye-popping views of the city, the spot was an instant hit.
“From the moment of its inception, Above Eleven was busy every night of the week,” Sachdev said. “More than just a venue, it became a destination.”
So much so, that the food and beverage revenue from Above Eleven and another restaurant at the property surpassed room revenue from 2016 on. And while the pandemic forced the closure of Above Eleven for 10 months, Soho took the opportunity to fully renovate the outlet.
“The COVID pandemic was a reset button on Above Eleven’s business,” Sachdev said.
If adding a rooftop attraction seems too large an undertaking, hotel owners might consider converting some space into a co-working centre.
Kristin Thorsteinsdottir, regional head of partnership growth for APAC at flexible office provider IWG, told the panel that co-working offers a resilient business model that can monetise underused space.
According to IWG, whose brands include Regus and Spaces, flexible offices can provide a significant return on investment and improve the value of the building.
Thorsteinsdottir presented the case of the Regus Ascott Ayala in the Philippine financial hub of Makati, where 970 square metres (10,441 square feet) of a serviced apartment building is taken up by a seventh-floor business centre with 50 private offices, five co-working desks and two meeting rooms.
The business centre generates 40 percent more revenue per square metre than the guest rooms do, she said.
Click here for information about SEAHIS 2022.