Over the past two years, the world of hospitality, like most other industries around the globe, has found itself facing immense challenges borne from the deep social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this turbulent environment, consumer preferences and expectations have shifted dramatically. New technology has enabled a growing population of digital nomads, Work from Anywhere has become the norm, and existing trends, such as well-being and sustainability, have accelerated – becoming more important than ever.
Against this backdrop of significant change, our company, like many others, has had to transform our organisation and rethink our capabilities to enhance our resiliency and deliver not only short-term financial improvement, but also long-term value creation through innovation, efficiency, agility and digitisation. In short – we’ve had to press the ‘restart’ button.
Our strategy has been to focus on three key areas – Resilience (financial focus), Reimagine (business focus), and Reshape (organisation focus), as highlighted in the infographic on page 8-9) – and we have made every effort to balance the safety needs of all stakeholders with modified strategic direction for long-term business success.
In 2021, this approach included embarking on technological and organisational transformation to enhance group-wide agility and efficiency. This provided a strong foundation to enhance our financial, business, and operational models, and ensure we have the capacity to deal with future uncertainties, turn challenges into opportunities, and act on data in the most efficient ways possible to create exceptional customer experiences – and generate value for all stakeholders across all our business units.
Strategic asset optimisation, and prudent management of liquid assets and fixed and variable costs, were key to strengthening our financial position in 2021. We also successfully issued two debentures to support our cash flow and repay previous debentures.
To strengthen our business model, we continued to enhance our services to align with shifting consumer preferences and introduced new products, services and experiences to cater to these needs and provide more opportunities to generate short-, mid-, and long-term value.
Restarting for the next normal
The threat of new variants and related travel restrictions makes it very difficult to predict when hotel revenue will bounce back to the same levels as 2019. Tourism ecosystems have shifted dramatically during the pandemic; so have traveller needs and expectations. Taking this into account, it’s vital that we continue to reimagine our products and services to meet the demands of the post-pandemic world and seize as many revenue-generating opportunities as possible – across all areas of our business.
This includes continuing to translate our four new pillars of Dusit Graciousness into new tangible actions, services, products and experiences that help drive revenue for all our business units.
Service, the first pillar, for example, will be enhanced in upcoming upgrades to the entire stay experience at Dusit Hotels and Resorts worldwide. A flagship for this fresh approach is Dusit Thani Hua Hin, which is set to enhance its appeal among younger travellers in 2022 with an exciting new restaurant, pool, and events space.
Well-being will come to the forefront in the continued rollout of our new group-wide wellness concept, Devarana Wellness, plus strategic collaborations with wellness experts to provide special activities for our customers, and the introduction of new healthy food offerings at our properties.
Locality will shine through in our special partnerships with local artisans and craftspeople to deliver exciting events, excursions and experiences that delight our customers and drive value for our respective communities.
And Sustainability will be evident in our careful and considerate approach – such as ensuring our operations and processes are as environmentally as possible, from sourcing and choosing materials to energy consumption and dealing with waste, with new policies and procedures across the entire company.
While we don’t expect international arrivals to match pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024, we firmly believe that travel will come back stronger than ever when the COVID-19 situation improves. And we are confident that the new services and experiences we created in 2021 – and will continue to create in 2022 – will contribute significantly to driving consistent business, extending our market reach, maintaining guest and customer confidence and trust, and cementing the competitive advantage of Dusit Hotels and Resorts worldwide.
Throughout the year, we will continue to focus on domestic travellers – both FIT and, where possible, MICE – and also tailor our offerings to appeal to the key and emerging market segments currently driving the long-haul market – including affluent travellers, digital nomads, and confident millennials seeking longer stays.
Our three-Rs strategy, Resilience, Reimagine, and Reshape, will also remain in place in 2022, and we will continue to dive deep into our customer journeys, product offerings, and online presence, and update, reimagine and retool where necessary to ensure all our business units can thrive and drive sustainable growth in the next normal.
On behalf of the company, I would like to graciously thank our employees, shareholders, guests, students, customers, valued members of our communities, and all other stakeholders for your continued support and for being part of our strategic evolution and journey