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Will your business survive the Pattaya ‘Quiet Season?’

by Alan Johnston

I really don’t like using the phrase; ‘quiet season’ it is counter intuitive with all I have learned about the law of attraction. By using negative vocabulary you set of a chain of events to expect a ‘quiet season.’ As a matter of fact More than 8 million people visited Pattaya in the first half of the year, putting the city on a record pace for both visitors and tourism revenue, tourism officials recorded. Tourist numbers only drop by around 2 million during the ‘Planting Season’ so in reality there are still many tourists in Pattaya when the rains come. Remember when you point 5 fingers there are always two pointing back at you! I hope to ‘plant’ a few new ideas in your head via his blog:

Many western managed business are struggling in Pattaya, and now the rainy season March through till October has hit, many may not survive, what are the 2 main aspects many of these business are missing out on?

The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” —Kakuzō Okakura, from ‘The Book of Tea’

Pattaya is a town like no other in Thailand, the expatriate population is larger than any I have seen in the land of Smiles. Sure Bangkok has more western tourists sleeping off the jet lag and taking in the City’s temples and urban landscapes before heading to the beach resorts, then heading back home via Bangkok International or Utapao Airport. However Pattaya by contrast, has a lot of expatriate managed businesses, be it Real Estate or Visa companies, English language schools to pubs and bars where many are owned and fronted by Westerners and their investment cash.

Thailand’s tourism has had its challengers over the years, in my living memory I can start from the Tsunami, then the coups, and many other challenges that have made the tourist numbers bounce year on year dramatically, if you look on a chart over the last decade the bounces look like a Crypto currency. However we can all agree that Thailand has an amazing ability to bounce back just after setbacks. Many retirees in Thailand rely on the Western comforts provided in Pattaya and their pension cash is duly spent on the Pattaya economy, this helps to provide a stable income for the western managed companies. However times are changing, inflation does not sit still, and nor should business owners rely on the pensioner who arrives the first minute after ‘Happy Hour’ starts has two beers and goes home as soon as it finishes.

Now we are seeing the Chinese arrive, and unlike the Russians who came of the back of a strong currency that rose and fell like a cake in an oven, China’s business has been growing for decades and their economy is robust, unlike many westerners most Chinese have savings, and we are seeing a nouveau riche like never before. Many Westerners who own businesses here tell me that they are not seeing the benefit of the Chinese travelers because they are mostly rounded up and shoved on fleets of buses herded around to spas and restaurants that are on the tour operators approved list of stops where their entourage can alight, destroy buffets like locusts, and generally behave quite raucously. Not too different from say a cheap package football tour for westerners. Taking in the wider picture; if you rely on tourism for your living, then to label the entire 1.3 billion Chinese with a few videos you have seen about badly behaved Chinese tourists on YouTube is foolhardy at best.

These tours are called “Dollar tours” as they mostly appeal to the poorer traveler, however I am led to believe by my parent company who manage Chinese marketing for Western business that; these tightly packed and regimented tours are losing favour in China and their days are numbered.

The new focus should be on the Frequent Independent Traveler who books everything in China and these tourists are well behaved and willing to spend more cash on a good vacation well away from the crowds. The other aspect I see being overlooked by many Western business, is the approach to Digital Media. Most business tell me they got on to Facebook and started a page where they have been consistently posting stuff every day and created and published a few videos, but both mediums have been providing less and less leads over time. What else is there? Well where can I start? It’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it!

The success of any Digital Media is all about how well you tell your story!

Humans have been telling stories since the discovery of fire and marshmallows. The entire movie industry around the world is all dependent on how good a story they tell, GGI and special effects are nothing without the narrative, so why do business owners think you can post an image of a pork chop on Facebook and expect business to flood in? It does not work like that! Social Media is a stark contrast between what social media tells you it is; ‘a way to connect with friends and family.’ To what business thinks it is, which is; ‘a media platform to get more people to come to buy a product or service.’ Your message has to sit well between the two. The best marketing on Earth tells a story, a relatable human story that touches emotions. Remember:

People will always forget what you do, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Every sale on Earth is made with an emotion, so without feelings how can you expect to sell anything?

This is my way of saying you don’t need the inward kudos of thousands of likes on your Facebook page, but you do need more blogs and press releases on your website and a social policy that brands your business as a corporation that is passionate about what you do, and how what you do can save time or help the human race better themselves somehow, people then, after much consistency and social media sharing of your passion, see you as the ‘go to person’ in your industry, consequently whenever they think of your product or service, the karma of your hard work eventually becomes clearly visible when their bums are sat on seats in your restaurant, hotel or business.

Contact me for a brief consultancy of your brand message.