James Yong Joo Kim has recently been named President of Siamese & Kew Green Management Company based in Bangkok, bringing a vast wealth of experience to the position thanks to more than 30 years in the industry.

The latest venture is a partnership between Kew Gardens Hotels from the UK, and Siamese Asset, and will focus exclusively on the Thai marketplace, with James eventually expected to play a key role in developing hotels and branded residences throughout the country. The initial phase is set to begin with four properties slated to open in central Bangkok in 2021 under Wyndham Hotels & Resorts brands including Wyndham, Wyndham Garden, Ramada Plaza, and Ramada by Wyndham. Meanwhile, negotiations are ongoing to establish a further four hotels and branded residences for the Bangkok market in the near future.

According to James, “Thailand is a country where many global hotel chains are expanding their brands into the real estate market with hotel branded residences.” Savills rank Thailand as the third most significant market worldwide for branded residences, with Bangkok specifically listed fifth overall. It is anticipated that as the global economy begins its recovery from the pandemic, the branded residences sector in Thailand has huge potential for growth with interest from both foreign and domestic buyers.

It may be the case that the country is currently experiencing a downturn in the wider economy and in property sales in particular, but James notes that “when there is unsold inventory in the property market, it is normal for developers to consider converting unsold units or parts of their properties into branded residence rooms with a hotel license for better and faster financial returns.”

The advantages to both brands and consumers are clearly apparent. Branded residences can offer comfort, security, quality of life, maintenance, and a good return on investment. This leads to buyer confidence, especially among globally-mobile, time-poor individuals seeking a high quality of service, hassle-free ownership and prospect of rental returns when not in occupancy. The brands themselves can benefit from tailor-made packages and additional fee income streams, while strengthening their relationship with their customers. And for developers, a brand can uplift their profile, and lead to price premiums because a branded residence has a higher value than an ordinary project, adding to both psychological and monetary returns on investment.

Describing his own views on branded residences, James sums up the concept as “a hotel like a home, a home like a hotel”, adding that he expects to see growth in the branded residence sector in Thailand just as soon as foreign travelers and investors are cleared to enter the country once again in the post-covid era.