Keeping loyal staff motivated during lockdown

Pimalai Resort & Spa, a resort on Koh Lanta island, keeps long-time staff busy with training and renovation works

One of the resort's villas by the Andaman Sea. Credit: Pimalai Resort & Spa

KRABI - As Krabi continues its lockdown since early April, secluded resorts such as the 121-room Pimalai Resort & Spa, have made it a priority to keep staff.

Set amid 40 acres of jungle next to a 900m long stretch of beach, Pimalai is on Koh Lanta island, less than two hours by car and boat from Krabi Airport.

With expectations that the lockdown will end by 30 April 2020, the resort is providing staff training, and undergoing deep cleaning and renovation of 39 villas (swimming, bathrooms, roof). It is conceptualising the first wedding chapel on the island with appointed designers Habita, whose works include projects for Six Senses and Soneva.

The resort's GM, Mr Patrice Landrein, commented about the USP of his resort: "I consider (my team) as an asset - that's why we try as much as we can to take care of them during this crisis. We want to offer them the best conditions to work as I believe that great things in business are never done by one person but they are done by a team. Many of them have been working at Pimalai for many years and I am very grateful for their loyalty.

"I am an entrepreneur, someone who never gives up…and I try to be optimistic despite the actual situation. Being an entrepreneur nowadays is being close to the staff, being like a father, a leader and not a manager.

"They need to be supported and not having someone always checking after them. I always keep moving on, bringing new ideas, projects and make it happen. We try as much as we can to listen (to) the market trend and always be updated about what's happening in the world. The biggest strengths as a hotelier is definitely being creative."

Mr Landrein thinks that the post-COVID-19 world will change the habits of travellers. "It's going to be a big shift for our field; people will not travel like they used to; they will select their destination more precisely." He added that having excellent ratings on TripAdvisor, social media and travel guides will ensure guests visit his resort.

With fewer airlines, air fares will be dearer and people will travel shorter distances and "if they choose to travel a long distance, it's because they believe that the destination they will choose will be a top one," he said.

The resort is two hours by car and boat from Krabi Airport. Credit: Pimalai Resort & Spa

The resort has been active in sustainable tourism using organic farming methods to grow fresh produce from its organic farm in Chiang Mai.

It has also been supporting Koh Lanta National Park to help clean up islands for more than 10 years, and worked with marine biologists to release clownfish back to the ocean, and with an NGO on coral propagation.

Its Staycation Package currently targets domestic travellers and starts from 18,840 baht (US$576 nett with double occupancy) for a three-night stay and is valid till 20 December 2020, including daily breakfast, return airport transfers, a one-hour spa treatment, a buffet dinner or a three-course dinner at its Western fine-dining restaurant, and a Thai set dinner. Accommodation choices include deluxe rooms, pavilion suites, and one-, two- and three-bedroom hillside villas with sea views and private pools.