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Tanapong (Note) & Samornpun (Tarn) Somnam

Executive Director of The KEE Resort & Spa

September 2014

When did you set up your business?
Note: The KEE Resort & Spa opened on October 1st, 2010. As we're local Phuket citizens and have lived in the Patong area since we were born, we saw potential and opportunities to establish a hotel in this area. Moreover, the hotel business is a part of the travel industry – the most profitable business in Phuket. Also we wanted to create a business that would complement the area and to create sustainable jobs and help develop the community.

Where are you from? What is your hometown?
Tarn: We’re 100% native. Our family has run businesses in the Patong area for more than 30 years including real estate development, hotels and other businesses.

What’s special / different about The KEE Resort & Spa?
Note: The KEE Resort & Spa is different from other hotels in many aspects. The design is unique as it's a contemporary hotel with old-style Phuket architecture with a Sino-Portuguese touch. Every part of the hotel has its own unique designs especially in the hotel’s outlets. We offer a fun, easy going environment with, of course, friendly service.

Tell us something about your role in the business?
Tarn: I take care of mainly the Sales and Marketing department of the hotel. My task is to bring business into the hotel by offering our guests an exquisite and enjoyable experience. I also take care of the hotel’s image and public relations tasks.

Note: I mainly look after the overall hotel operations.

What are the main challenges?
Tarn: There are a lot of challenges. Firstly, there are new hotels appearing here and there which sharpens the competition. Therefore, in terms of marketing, we cannot stay still and have to constantly improve both our facilities and services to be ready for the competition in the market .

Note: Secondly, the shortage of adequate manpower in the market. Phuket hotels have suffered from this problem for a long time and unfortunately it will continue. Lastly, the politics; the recent [situation in Bangkok] is a nightmare for all hoteliers and the Thai travel industry. Drops in occupancy can be found everywhere throughout the island. Fortunately, it seems that everything will get back in place soon. 

What’s your main target market?
Tarn: Australians, SEAs, Oriental countries and Europeans.

What do you like most about what you do?
Tarn: I've a chance to travel to many places and meet people around the world. I have experienced many different cultures, cuisine and art. Also I have gained knowledge by sharing information with people I have met.

And what do you like least?
Tarn: The competition between hoteliers – especially marketing approaches that require lowering room rates and snatching people in manpower market.

What do you (and the business) hope / expect to achieve within the next three-five years?
Note: I'd like the KEE Resort & Spa to maintain its leading position as one of the best four-star hotels in the market by offering better hotel facilities and services.

I also expect to contribute more to society.

What do you see as your biggest successes to date?
Note: The biggest success is that the hotel has grown to be the leading 4 star hotel in the market, is quite well known around the world, and the business is still growing.

What changes have you seen in the market in your business sector since you started? How have you responded to them?
Note: The mix of hotel guests changes every year. To counter this, predicting trends in the market has to be done from daily information gained from many different sources.

Is The KEE Resort & Spa involved in any CSR programmes?
Note: The KEE Resort & Spa does a lot of CSR by taking part in many social activities especially with the Patong Municipality. Right now we send our staff members to help clean Patong beach every Friday morning.

How would you describe your leadership style?
Note: I'm a type that works in a team by taking opinions from others into account. I always encourage my team to share what their thoughts are. Moreover, I always support them when problems arise and try solving them together.

What is your over-riding ambition at this stage in your life?
Tarn: I want to make the KEE Resort & Spa a success by bringing up a sustainable sales and marketing strategy that can be used as a model in the future.

For further information about The KEE Resort & Spa
Tel: +66 76 335888
www.thekeeresort.com

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