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Posted: 05 Dec 2010 | 6:00 am
Longtime Thai hospitality and publishing personalities John Everingham and Chris Ryan have chosen Phuket as the launching platform for their cutting global website www.thebeachfrontclub.com
The pair of entrepreneurs have detailed out in the following the plans and naked ambitions for their new enterprise -
The Beachfront Club, a new hi-tech hotel club that maps and displays all true beachfront hotels in the world in spectacular detail, is to roll out its global launch in Phuket starting today. And it promises to cause a real stir among hotels along the beachfront, for there will be some big winners, and many losers.
Using the latest in smart satellite imaging and mapping technology, The Beachfront Club has mapped over 8,000 true beachfront hotels around the world. They claim to be well on the way to mapping all that qualify in over 100 countries, about 10,000 in total, they say.
The Beachfront Club's definition of 'true beachfront' is going to disappoint, and even anger many hoteliers in different parts of the world. Any hotel that has motorised traffic of any kind between its rooms and the beach has been disqualified - even if this is only motorcycles running along a beach track, as happens here in Phuket in Kamala.
In Phuket that tough definition of 'true beachfront' means that only about 8% of over 800 accommodation establishments qualify for membership. Phuket has less than 80 qualified hotels. Will this hurt Phuket's reputation as a top beach destination? "Absolutely not" said Chris Ryan one of the founders and a career hotelier known to many in the hotel industry across Asia. "Quite the opposite…..we have identified a clear niche market which will steer even more visitors towards all of Thailand's beach resort destinations. With Phuket already Thailand's most famous island, our club will give it even greater exposure.
Not only that,.. this will be a great avenue for the ' newer ' beaches to use our site for focused ' destination marketing ' ....such as Mai Khao, Cape Panwa and the like."
The other founder is long-time Phuket publisher and photographer John Everingham, who published PHUKET Magazine for almost twenty years until it was taken over by Singapore-based Dragon Group in 2007. Both Chris and John have long experience in hotels and tourism in Thailand and the Asian region, and it was this experience that led to the concept for The Beachfront Club. Building the site took a team of 6 researchers and several code writers scattered around the world just on two years.
The new club is global, and membership is free for all hotels that qualify by virtue of their geography, be they budget or 5-star. The Club is interactive at all levels and provides each hotel with an extensive 'website' within the BFC site that the hotel can take control of to upload information and photos to. The is no banner or other advertising, giving a site clean.
The club is not a booking engine, though bookings will be possible through a selection of the familiar, dedicated booking services. A Premium level of membership, which gives high profile and allows members to receive bookings into their own reservation systems, is also sold. Many leading Phuket hotels have already signed up for Premium membership in advance to secure high display positions on the pages where their hotels are displayed on maps.
Chris and John report an over-whelming, positive response from over 40 qualified hotels that they have presented The Beachfront Club to privately, claiming a rate of conversion to Premium member at over 80%.
Seventy plus 'qualified' hotels in Phuket will be sent links to the system starting today, allowing them to become the first hotels to enter the site, register and claim their endorsement as a 'true beachfront' hotel. If this site becomes as popular with users as the owners plan, hotels that do not qualify - those near, but not right on the beach - stand to lose significant business.
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