Centara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand’s leading hotel operator, has provided the travel industry with an update on its expansion and development plans ahead of this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London.
The last 12 months have been an exciting period for Centara, which is currently midway through a strategic five-year development plan that will see its global portfolio grow to over 130 hotels in more than 15 countries by the end of 2022.
The company is also implementing several important projects to improve all areas of its business, from technological upgrades to new brands.
EXTENDING A LEADING POSITION IN THAILAND
Centara is currently undertaking a significant expansion of its domestic portfolio. The group recently celebrated the opening of the 145-key Centara Sonrisa Residences & Suites Sriracha, on Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard. It has also added three hotels in the attractive Mai Khao Beach area of Phuket; the 22-pool villa Maikhao Dream Villa Resort & Spa has joined the Centara Boutique Collection, the 142-key Maikhao Hotel is now managed by Centara, and the brand new, 280-key Centra by Centara Maikhao Resort Phuket is scheduled to open in 2024. Most recently, Centara Ao Nang Beach Resort & Spa Krabi, which is the only branded resort on Ao Nang Beach, opened its doors in October. Following this, COSI Pattaya Naklua Beach will start welcoming guests this November. These new agreements extend the group’s Thai portfolio to 38 hotels and resorts in operation, with many more under development.
EXPANDING IN NEW GLOBAL MARKETS
Centara continues to grow its footprint in many of the world’s most attractive destinations. The group recently signed a joint venture agreement for its inaugural property in Japan: the 515-key Centara Grand Hotel Osaka, which is scheduled to open in mid-2023. At the start of the year, Centara made its debut in Qatar with the launch of the 292-key Centara West Bay Residences & Suites Doha. Following an agreement with the same owner, Centara will add two more properties in Doha: The B Premiere Hotel, an 85-room property under the Centara Boutique Collection which will open early next year, and the 167-key Centara Al Bustan Hotel Doha, which is under construction and due to open in 2021.
Southeast Asia is also a key area of expansion. Centara recently signed an MoU to manage six properties in Myanmar, including the 95-key Centara KMA Resort Inle Lake, which was the first to be signed and will start welcoming guests in early 2020. In Laos, the company has sealed management agreements for three new properties with a combined total of 216 keys, including Centara Grand and Centra by Centara hotels in Luang Prabang and COSI Vientiane Nam Phu. These are in addition to Centara Plumeria Resort Pakse, which is scheduled to open in 2020. Finally, Centara has revealed plans for a significant expansion of its portfolio in Vietnam, with the goal of opening at least 20 new hotels nationwide in the next five years.
Centara’s international portfolio and pipeline now extend to 13 countries: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, the Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Japan, Turkey, the UAE, and Vietnam.
REFRESHING AN ICON AND REVEALING NEW BRANDS
Centara is also focused on revitalizing its brands and properties to create the finest experiences for all guests. Fresh brand identities have been revealed for the group’s upscale Centara and upper-upscale Centara Grand brands. This serves to breathe new life and energy into their visual appeal and better distinguish the brand experiences, whilst ensuring a sense of warmth and progressive Thainess, which are the omnipresent hallmarks of the company. This will be complemented by a new luxury brand which will be officially launched following the complete upgrade and repositioning of the popular Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, which closed temporarily earlier this year. Its reopening in late 2020 will coincide with the unveiling of the brand, whose name, together with exciting details of its inaugural hotel will be announced on January 2020. Centara has also signed an MOU with a leading medical company to create a new medical wellness brand.
In October, Centara began the rollout of its new global advertising campaign, titled “The Place to Be”, which is derived from the company’s unique and inimitable brand DNA of Thai Family Values and the associated values of Caring, Sharing and Belonging.
DELIVERING CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY
Centara is fully committed to delivering the latest technology across all areas of its business. Guests will be able to benefit from a new best-in-class website, which will offer a more intuitive, user-friendly booking flow across all devices, including advanced mobile compatibility; and dynamic personalized content. The new digital experience will launch in April 2020 Enhanced and integrated Property Management Systems (PMS), Central Reservations Systems (CRS) and Revenue Management Systems (RMS) will enable hotels to perform to the best of their ability, driving maximum returns back to their owners and the company is midway through the rollout of this new technology architecture which comprises a combination of the optimal solutions for Centara’s business model, including Opera, IDeaS and Vertical Booking.. By harnessing big data, Centara will also be able to personalize every stay.
REIMAGINING THE MICE SECTOR
At the start of 2019, Centara officially launched Meetings Redesigned, an innovative new MICE concept designed to provide a one-stop service for corporate events. This new program is built around three main elements: a Meeting Guru will offer a single point of contact for end-to-end event management; a partnership with Asia Ability will help promote new team-building techniques, and creative catering will deliver memorable group dining occasions.
Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld continues to raise standards in the MICE sector after it was named “Best Meetings and Conventions Hotel in Asia” for the fifth consecutive year at the 2019 TTG Travel Awards. Centara now operates three world-class convention hotels in Bangkok, and the company is aiming to host at least 100,000 MICE delegates in the city this year, helping to position the Thai capital as a key gateway for international events. Centara is also investing THB 650 million in a full refurbishment program of all 505 rooms at the flagship, Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld which will further consolidate its status among Bangkok’s leading business and leisure destinations.
REFRESHING GUEST EXPERIENCES
Finally, Centara has crafted its new Staying Well concept, which promotes a healthier way to travel. This program has also been built around three core pillars, Live Well, Eat Well and Sleep Well, and comprises the provision of in-room fitness accessories, exercise routines and free group classes, healthy restaurant menus, pillow menus, soothing music, wellness kits and more.