Phachara Kitkosap is the owner of a big hotel business, APK Resort & Spa, based in Phuket, Thailand. Phachara is here with us today to tell us a little bit about the hotel business of which Phachara has been part of since its inception.
Tell us abit about the history of the business and yourself
My family started the first hotel which originally had only 40 rooms. I remember when we started, my family and I used to do everything by ourselves with no extra staff. So we used to provide the full room service and gardening, even picking up our customers from the airport.
Now I am proud to say that we have become a big business with over 500 rooms and around 200 staff members. Through the years, our business has grown bigger and successful and now I just have to manage the staff and maintain the quality of our services. I no longer have to be there every day to do things by myself because it is now very much self-run.
My family and I have lived in Thailand. I grew up in Phuket since I was born and I was moved to Bangkok when I was 14 year olds to study. I am currently living in Australia and pursuing studies in hospitality and management. I want do this because I think it will be helpful for my own business in that I can use what I have gained and from my experience to improve my business to be better for westerners and the western society.
What are you guys working on right now?
We are opening the new hotel that is going to be provided with the full options of services including spa, restaurant, bar, and much more. We have just opened a day Spa for customers who want to relax and have a massage with different choices such as full course, leg massage, and back massage with amenities such as sauna, stream room and the likes.
Where did the business idea for the hotel come from?
Well as a family, my mother thought it would be great idea to have a hotel as a business because we can all work together like a family unit. So we decided to start our business from a very small hotel which only had 40 rooms at the time and now our business has grown up and become a big department which has hundreds of rooms.
How does the business mainly make money?
We mainly make money from the room booking, bar and restaurant but also the services offered such as the spa, room service, taxi service and so forth.
Would you say you have a very hands on approach to business management?
Basically, I always walk around the hotel and help my staff when they need it. I even encourage them to work and provide a good service to customers. Sometime I just walk to the kitchen and help them or even make sure they always bring the highest standards to people such as food presentation. These things need to be looking good before it is served to the customers. Meanwhile the taste must be delicious as well, to make people happy with what they order from us
What is one thing you would like to improve in regards to APK if you had the chance?
If I had the chance I would make the swimming pool even bigger than it is and better for the hotel.
What are some insights you have gained from this industry?
I have learnt how to run hotels and even restaurants. From this I would say, it is very hard to deal with unhappy customers, when they complain about services to us. We would want to make sure that we leave them with happiness and good memories. Also I think you learn how to make services better for people who are using our services.
What is one advice you would give to other entrepreneurs out there?
If you have a dream follow it and if that is your passion, I would say: “don’t let anyone hold you back, just go for it!”
What is the greatest challenged you’ve faced so far with your hotel business and how was it resolved?
From my recollection, the hardest time for us was when the Tsunami came. We had no customers at all but we still need to pay the bank loan and employee wages, utilities, and so forth. So it was really difficult for us to get through this situation because we had to find something else that we had to possibly do to generate revenue to support the business. Our resolution at the time was in discounts. We had to give discounts to customers to make them come back again because there was no one who wanted to stay at any hotels in Phuket at the time due to the fear.
What is one important book you would recommend to our readers?
“100 people think 10 people make 1 person successful” is a very good book to read that I would recommend.
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