Anthony Lark is the well known and urbane General Manager of the highly successful Trisara Resort and Spa set upon a private bay on Phuket’s north-west coast, just south of the airport. We caught up with Anthony to get an update on this year’s high season in the Andaman.
How is the high season going for Trisara?
“This is a very exciting and successful time to be an established brand like Trisara within the luxury sector of Phuket’s tourism market. All the established luxury brands are experiencing high occupancy because we are witnessing a ‘flight to quality’ from our discerning and wellinformed target group. Because of Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter and the like, people have never been better informed than they are today and they are seeking out established resorts where the actual experience they receive when they stay, exceeds the hype and advertising communications that they see.
at a global dinner party exchanging notes about luxury resorts around the world and so only the very best resorts get the top end customers. If we don’t deliver absolute luxury to the expected standards of our audience, there is literally nowhere to hide in today’s technologically-linked world”.
Have you clients’ attitudes changed towards Phuket?
“We are seeing more of an ‘Oasis Trisara’ attitude in our discerning clients. They are increasingly shying away from engaging with the traffic hassles; the long travel times; the over-building and the environmental problems outside the gates of the resort. This year we have the highest rate of “returning guests” on the island…over 30 per cent have stayed with us before and so they know both Phuket and Trisara very well. We are finding that where before they would take a drive to Patong, Phuket Town, or the south to go to a restaurant like Mom Tri’s Boathouse, now they prefer to take our luxurious “Trisara One” launch for a sunset cruise down the west coast, to avoid the on-land hassles. Even our proximity to the airport, just 15 minutes by road, is a big plus. After a tiring flight the last thing our guests want is a long trip down the island’s congested roads!”
What changes have you seen in the country of origin from which your guests derive?
“A country’s economic performance and the valuation of its currency have a big impact upon the numbers of visitors we derive from it. This year we have seen declines in arrivals from the USA and northern Europe, while we are seeing a much greater proportion of visitors from HK, Singapore, China and the other high-performing Asian economies. We are also very popular with Australians and of course their currency has held up strongly.
We have a lot less long-haul guests and also we’re finding younger, betterinformed visitors are the norm. Undoubtedly the red shirt protests have hurt Thailand’s visitation as a whole, but Phuket seems to be doing much better, or even benefitting from, Bangkok’s image problems and as I said, this may also support the high end tourist’s increasing ‘Oasis Trisara’ mentality.”
How have Trisara’s final phase of owned villas been selling?
“We built 19 villas in our final phase of development and 16 have already been sold. The remaining three are still available at a price of around US3.5 million each. The sales were incredibly successful and rapid, primarily by word of mouth with the need for very little marketing. This is a great testament to the superiority of the facilities and location of Trisara and also the ease and returns from villa rentals should the owners desire to be part of the rental pool.”
by Barry Daniel