|23 February, 1999 - Laguna Resorts & Hotels, Thailand’s
second largest public hotel company, which owns Laguna Phuket in the southern
province of Phuket, announced a record year in 1998 against the background
of the regional economic crisis.
Revenues climbed to Baht 2.3 billion, up from last year’s 1.6 billion,
an increase of 47%. This was largely due to increased revenues at the Laguna
Phuket hotels (Banyan Tree Phuket, Sheraton Grande Laguna Beach, Dusit
Laguna and Laguna Beach Club), attributable roughly 50/50 between occupancy
and average rate.
The occupancy increase of some 10 points over 1997 followed substantial
conversions from Bali during Indonesia’s internal crisis, plus considerable
increases from hard currency markets such as Europe and Australia to whom
Thailand now represents much better value for money than in recent years.
Management of the company are quick to note, however, that the Tourism
Authority of Thailand’s “Amazing Thailand” campaign was a major factor.
James Batt, Joint Managing Director of Laguna Resorts and Hotels, describes
this as “undoubtedly one of the most successful regional tourism campaigns
The Banyan Tree Phuket represents Southeast Asia's first
luxury spa resort designed to provide guests with a stylish and sensuous
environment in which to
relax and rejuvenate.
The conversion of rates to market currencies was a sensitive issue in
Thailand following the unilateral announcement of some Bangkok hotels that
they would be moving to US dollars. The Laguna Phuket team balanced
the need to continue to improve the company’s profitability with market
conditions, and moved a portion of its contracts into hard currencies.
This involved careful negotiations with the tour and travel industry,
and whilst it has resulted in a substantial increase in average rate measured
in Thai Baht, hard currency rates are still lower than 1997. “This balance”
says Batt “was a winning formula and it is a testament to our strong working
relationship with these many and varied travel agents that quiet negotiations
were so successful. They have resulted not only in a record year for 1998
but serve as a solid base for 1999”.
Profitability of the company rose to Baht 209 million from a loss in
1997 of Baht 571 million. Earnings per share were Baht 2.47 compared to
loss per share of Baht 6.75 the previous year.