“I want to keep my family legacy” said Prof Dr Apichati Sivayathorn, CEO and Owner of Sivatel Hotel. The Sivatel is a mixed use hotel – serviced apartments and office rental on one of the most prime pieces of real estate in Southeast Asia, ‘Wireless Road’, Bangkok.
This piece of land has belonged to the family for five decades and has gone through several phases. It has gone from being an apartment block, to a hotel, then serviced apartments, and now today, is one of the finest hotels in Southeast Asia.
Of all the lessons learnt, Prof. Dr Apichati would say when it comes to running a hotel, the most important traits we need to have are ‘compassion’ and ‘sympathy’. ‘Sympathy’ towards guests and also towards staff. Businesswise, Prof Dr Apichati has gained much of his experience from running one of the best hospitals in Asia – ‘Bumrungrad’. He knows that keeping high standards and consistency is the key to success. He has had to deal with hospital audits in hygiene, safety and service, and all of that learning is now applied to the running of his hotel.
The Dr. said he sees his hotel as a home away from home for people who travel for leisure, and that’s what the business of the Sivatel is like. 80% leisure tourists, and 20% business. Since the hotel is located in such a strategic area surrounded by embassies, residents and high end shopping malls, he plans to extend his hotel to encompass many areas of ‘Wellness’. He would like to introduce ‘wellness’ and ‘wholeness’ programmes to guests that take an easy to follow approach. At the moment the hotel is offering spa treatments and gym with exercise classes.
We often hear about disputes erupting when things don’t go well in a family business. I asked the doctor how he manages these kinds of disruptions when they occur? His reply – “Good Governance. Each family member has a share in the hotel, and each of them has role, and follows what they have to do. We have board meetings every month where we discuss what’s happening and everyone has their right to vote if they agree or disagree on any given topic”
With an occupancy rate of 80-90% (during the interview) it seems like the Sivatel is doing everything right. “The advantage of this location is that it is a safe area. You have embassies, private residents, Central Embassy shopping center and there are no high rise buildings blocking the skyline. It’s also very close to the BTS”. On the flip side, when asked what changes he anticipates with another big brand hotel opening just across the way very shortly, he replied “It will be good for us actually. It is a respected brand and it will bring the type of clientele that we want. It opens options up for people. I believe that there are people who aren’t brand addicted and want to try something different out there also, I’m not worried about that at all”
Pick your neighbors wisely – and if you don’t get to pick them, then use them to your advantage.