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The 42-year-old Rose Garden Country Resort & Hotel
 Near Bangkok Undergoing Facelift, Name Change

By Sujintana Hemtasilpa, Bangkok Post, Thailand
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Jan. 20, 2006 - After experiencing sluggish business during the past two years, the 42-year-old Rose Garden has undergone a 150-million-baht facelift, aiming to increase its annual revenue by 10 percent.

Formerly known as Rose Garden Country Resort, the Nakhon Pathom property has changed its name to Rose Garden Riverside as part of its attempt to make the resort better known among younger Thai people.

Suchada Yuvaboon, chairwoman of Rose Garden Hotel Co, said the renovations to the 170-rai property would help expand its customer base among Thai visitors, particularly younger people, families and senior citizens.

New additions to the 188-room resort include a 10-million-baht spa called Arusaya, morning cultural shows including elephant rides, and a wider variety of meeting venues for small groups.

The budget also includes 10 million baht for public relations to make the hotel better known among the younger-generations.

The Rose Garden has long been known among Thai and international visitors for its cultural shows that attracted about 700 visitors per day, and food and beverage services.

According to Ms Suchada, half of the resort's revenue came from food and beverages, 25 percent from hotel rooms and another 25 percent from cultural shows in its Thai Village exhibition area.

About 60 percent of hotel guests are local Mice (meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition) visitors, and the rest are international guests, mostly from Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany and Scandinavia.

This year, a new market that is growing well for the resort is the United States, she added.

With the facelift that added morning exhibitions of traditional rural activities in the Thai Village, where tourists are encouraged to participate, Ms Suchada said she expected total revenue to increase by 10 percent from about 210 million baht last year.

She said the most popular activities at the Thai Village for international tourists are cooking, following by umbrella painting, Thai boxing, elephant rides and showering elephants.

Last year, the average room occupancy at the resort was around 59 percent, she said. She anticipates occupancy will drop this year as the company has to close rooms in stages for renovation.

The renovation of the first 77 rooms in the Phetkasem Wing will begin in March.

About 70 percent of the renovation work has been completed and everything should be finished by the end of the year, said Ms Suchada.

Arrut Navaraj, the company's director and Ms Suchada's son, said he was adding online marketing to the company's distribution channels. In the past, the company's distribution has been done mainly through traditional travel agents and its own sales staff.

Since the resort is located away from beaches and mountainous areas that are more popular among Thai tourists, Mr Arrut said the company aimed to stand out by offering "edutainment" for families with children, and also a nostalgic retreat for adults who want to relax in a conventional Thai atmosphere.

"We offer ourselves as an alternative destination," he said.

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To see more of the Bangkok Post, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.bangkokpost.com.

Copyright (c) 2006, Bangkok Post, Thailand

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