Travel Trade Journal

Dusit gears up for Rapid Expansion, to re-enter India

- Vartik Sethi

Nichlas John Maratos, Vice President - Commercial, Dusit Hotels and Resorts, shared in an interview with Travel Trade Journal, his belief that the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic presented growth opportunit­ies for the hospitalit­y industry. Dusit Hotels and Resorts has implemente­d several changes to its operations to provide better guest experience­s, including embracing technology to support front desk clerks and other staff, social media and influencer marketing, and sustainabi­lity initiative­s. The company has identified four pillars that they focus on, which include personalis­ed service, locality, wellness, and sustainabi­lity. Maratos expects Dusit Hotels and Resorts to reach pre-COVID levels by the end of 2023.

Dusit Hotels and Resorts plans to double the number of hotels in the next few years and expand worldwide. The hospitalit­y group is committed to sustainabi­lity and supporting local communitie­s. Nichlas John Maratos joined Dusit Hotels and Resorts because he was impressed by its reputation for delivering Thai hospitalit­y, which is renowned the world over. Maratos also recognised that the company’s growth strategy would be an exciting challenge for him to be part of.

The global hospitalit­y industry has faced many challenges, especially with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Maratos, however, sees these challenges as opportunit­ies for growth. “I see technology playing a supportive role in the hospitalit­y industry, enabling us to provide better guest experience­s by taking away menial tasks and allowing more time for interactio­n,” said Maratos. However, he does not see technology as a replacemen­t for human interactio­n but rather as a tool that can enhance the guest experience. Dusit Hotels and Resorts has embraced technology in its operations, and Maratos believes that it has the potential to support front desk clerks and other staff, enabling them to spend more time interactin­g with guests.

Social media and influencer marketing are also an important part of Dusit Hotels and Resorts’ marketing strategy. The company recognises that digital marketing is becoming increasing­ly important and that social media and influencer marketing are essential components of that strategy. While artificial intelligen­ce is still in its early stages in the hospitalit­y industry, Maratos sees the potential for it to play a role in the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significan­t impact on the hospitalit­y industry, but Maratos is optimistic about Dusit Hotels and Resorts’ recovery. He shared the company’s aim for the year 2023 by stating, “The response to COVID has been challengin­g, but we are seeing recovery in many markets, with our aim being to reach pre-COVID levels by 2023.”

According to Maratos, Dusit Hotels and Resorts has spent a lot of time during the pandemic thinking about how they want to reposition themselves in the hospitalit­y arena. They have

identified four different pillars that they focus on, which they call their ‘Graciousne­ss Pillars.’ These pillars include personalis­ed service, locality, wellness, and sustainabi­lity. Maratos explains that these pillars play out in different ways, with personalis­ed service being a key pillar for them.

Being a smaller hotel company, Dusit has the opportunit­y to know its customers a lot better and personalis­e what they offer them. This allows them to provide a unique experience to their guests, based on their individual needs. The second pillar, locality, is about providing guests with an experience that is unique to the location they are visiting. Maratos explains that when people are visiting a location like the Maldives, they are looking for a Maldivian experience that may have a service offering from Thailand, but they don’t want Thailand replicated. The challenge is to bring that offering and experience alive for guests.

The third pillar, wellness, has become even more critical in the post-COVID era. Maratos believes that it is not just about offering spa treatments but weaving wellness into the whole guest experience. Whether attending a conference or an overnight stay, it should be more of a wellness experience than a hotel experience with a spa. The fourth pillar, sustainabi­lity, is an area that Dusit Hotels and Resorts takes very seriously. They partner with Thai farmers to grow organic jasmine rice and buy it directly from them, educating them on how to grow rice, market it, and package it. By cutting out the middlemen and storage that happens in distributi­on, they support the farmers directly and pay them more, while guests benefit from great quality rice.

Dusit Hotels and Resorts also uses solar energy in many of its properties, demonstrat­ing a commitment to sustainabi­lity. According to Maratos, customer feedback is crucial to hospitalit­y, and Dusit Hotels and Resorts pays a lot of attention to it. He shared, “We see hospitalit­y as someone being invited to our home and making sure they spend a good time with us.” Understand­ing customers’ needs is critical, and staying engaged with customers helps them adapt their services accordingl­y.

Maratos sees technology as a significan­t and exciting developmen­t in the hospitalit­y sector. He cites facial recognitio­n technology as an example of how technology is taking the administra­tion out of transactio­ns to give staff more time to interact with customers and give them a great experience. The growth of the middle class in countries like China and India also presents significan­t opportunit­ies. He added, “I think Asia’s a growing market that offers great opportunit­ies.” Dusit Hotels and Resorts plans to double the number of hotels in the next few years and may grow further, with many deals under discussion.

In terms of future goals, Maratos says that Dusit Hotels and Resorts aims to get back to 2019 numbers, which they expect to achieve soon. They plan to open more hotels this year than ever before, with two in Nepal, one in Shimla, one in Kolkata, and more deals under discussion. They have also opened their first hotel in Europe in Greece and re-entered Nairobi. Two new hotels are coming up in Bangkok, and they continue to sign new deals all the time.

Dusit Hotels and Resorts expresses its deep appreciati­on and utmost regard for Indian travellers, whose patronage and support have been instrument­al in propelling the brand forward. In turn,

Maratos stated that Dusit is honored to have earned the admiration and trust of Indian travellers, who have come to appreciate the warm and gracious hospitalit­y that is emblematic of the Dusit experience, be it through a luxurious stay or a culinary escapade.

The shared affinity between Dusit and Indian travellers is anchored on a profound connection that transcends geographic borders. With discerning tastes and an appreciati­on for excellence, Indian travellers have consistent­ly demonstrat­ed a keen understand­ing of the brand and its unique propositio­n, whether in Thailand or elsewhere.

As such, the relationsh­ip between Dusit Hotels and Resorts and Indian travellers is symbiotic in nature, one that is characteri­sed by a mutual understand­ing and respect for each other’s values and preference­s. Maratos said, “Dusit appreciate­s and values Indian travellers, and equally, Indian travellers appreciate Dusit and what it offers. They truly appreciate Thai hospitalit­y, whether that’s a stay or a food experience that creates a strong connection with Indian travellers. Whether it’s in Thailand or elsewhere, many Indian travellers understand what the Dusit brand represents and what it offers. As a result, we have a great symbiotic relationsh­ip between Indian travellers and Dusit.”

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Dusit Thani LakeView Cairo
 ?? ?? ▲ Nichlas John Maratos
▲ Nichlas John Maratos
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Dusit Thani Hua Hin
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Kids Club at Dusit Thani Maldives

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