Indian weddings are the key market in 2020: Deborah Haines


Amari is the centrepiece of the ONYX portfolio of hospitality brands reflecting the warmth and energy of an evolving modern Asia. Speaking exclusively with Travel News Digest is Deborah Haines, Area General Manager, Eastern Thailand, Amari about the property and the hospitality they provide.  

With more than three decades of experience in the hospitality industry, Deborah is responsible for nine properties in Pattaya including OZO, to be opened in the first quarter of 2020.

Q. How important is the Indian market for Amari?

India has remained the third-largest GeoSource for Amari Pattaya this year and we’re seeing this as a long-term opportunity, with an average 15% growth in visitors from India to Thailand annually. The number of travellers from India is now starting to increase, with a record 180,000 visiting in June alone. More direct flights, a visa-fee waiver and most importantly, increasing middle-class wealth, is spurring on the number of Indian arrivals. Visitor arrivals from India are up more than 20% for the first five months of 2019, compared to last year. Given continued GDP growth, a younger population (600 million Indian populations are younger than 25 years old), short-haul flights of 3-4 hours – these advantages emphasise the importance of India market to the future of Thai tourism. In addition to visiting Thailand, travellers from India are increasingly choosing the country as the location of their weddings – with some 200 couples from India tying the knot there each year. (Source: Tourism Authority of Thailand).

Q. What are the promotional and marketing strategies of Amari for the India market?

We have a range of products and services attracting the India market which includes Executive Chef and a team of chefs of sub-continent heritage creating dedicated menus available throughout the resort; a starting room type with a size of 49 sq m, which is considered the most spacious in the immediate area; strategic location close to shopping areas like local food and retail stalls or the newest shopping complex in North Pattaya; Amari Hosts who are fully conversant in Chinese, Russian, English and Thai, with new recruitment of Hindi-speaking Amari Host to accommodate guests from India.

The communications strategies include inviting journalists and bloggers from India, especially in the leisure sector, to showcase a new Amari Pattaya’s experience to a young-at-heart and family travellers segment; participating in World Wedding Forum India 2020 by partnering with Thailand Incentive and Convention Association (TICA); participating in a trade roadshow as a group of ONYX Hospitality in India targeting New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru in 2020 and working with strategic agency partners in India like Travel Bullz and TBO to capture both leisure and MICE travellers.

Q. Which are the top 3 markets of Amari?

 The top three markets of Amari are Korea, China and India.

Q. What are the offerings of Amari Pattaya to its customers after its spectacular transformation?

The completed recreational and MICE facilities in one platform:

For the leisure market, kid-centric offers are designed to delight family travellers – kids’ own check-in desk and vacation surprises, including a gumball machine, specially curated daily activities programme with resident mascots, Sky and Rose, and outdoor water slides and Treehouse Kids’ Club, kids’ breakfast section supervised by an animation team and even a treatment room just for kids at Breeze Spa. Families will get to enjoy their stay at Deluxe Family at a high rise Amari Tower with Executive Club Lounge with a 5-star experience or can also choose to indulge in a Two-Bedroom Suite with pool access for extra tranquillity and privacy that will make you feel at home away from home.

The newly built stand-alone, pillar-free ballroom and four additional meeting rooms can accommodate up to 1,000 people, plus, the outdoor Beach Lawn which is a versatile venue by the beach road is ideal for every kind of event.

We have the Amaya Food Gallery – dining experience inspired by the local food markets of Asia with its open-air cooking stations and friendly chefs preparing regional and international culinary highlights, as well as a collection of signature Thai favourites.

Q. Destination weddings are an ongoing trend in India. How are you looking at tapping the Indian wedding market?

One of the key markets for 2020 is Indian weddings. The hotel is participating in Masala Wedding Fair which is Thailand’s largest and most renowned Indian Wedding Fair to promote the potential of our Grand Ballroom and versatile outdoor venue that fits with the traditional Indian wedding. Internationally, the hotel will be appearing at World Wedding Forum in India as well.

Q. How Pattaya as a city is attracting the gaze of the world towards the hospitality they provide and what is the future of Pattaya as a destination?

The government plans to develop full-scale transportation infrastructure for the airport, seaport, highway and especially high-speed rail links between U-Tapao and Bangkok’s two international airports. U-Tapao airport’s passenger capacity is projected to increase from 1.1 to 3 million passengers in 2020, all of which will be beneficial to Pattaya’s tourism industry.