Hospitality businesses in popular destinations are dealing with staff shortages, according to Amora Hotels & Resorts, which operates hotels in Thailand and Australia.
Chaowaphat Siriphatrawan, owner and director of Amora Hotels & Resorts, said hotels in Phuket are highly competitive in attracting staff during this high season, especially at the casual level, by providing benefits and a high rate of service charges.
Middle management positions also have staff shortages as these workers have more opportunities for career advancement when moving to other hotels, while their salary range is quite diverse, said Mr Chaowaphat.
As the company plans to fully open Amora Beach Resort Phuket this December following a renovation costing 500 million baht, it hired an appropriate level of staff to avoid the shortages experienced by other hotels in the province, he said.
Mr Chaowaphat said upgrading from four stars to five by improving facilities enabled the hotel to double its room rates, catering to demand from high-spending foreigners.
He said more than half of all visitors are expected from Russia and Nordic countries, who prefer the serene environment of Bang Tao beach, followed by independent Chinese guests at around 20%, with 10-15% from the Middle East and India in the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions segment.
In addition to Phuket, the group operates a three-star hotel in the Sukhumvit area in Bangkok, catering to a large number of Japanese expatriates, and a four-star hotel in Chiang Mai, which has a growing number of Chinese visitors.
The group owns six hotels in Thailand and Australia totalling 1,350 rooms.
The three hotels in Australia are in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, which cater mostly to the domestic market.
Mr Chaowaphat said Australia regained international tourists faster than Thailand, but does not have sufficient casual-level staff as many foreign workers left Australia for their home country and did not return.
The higher minimum wage and salaries in Australia also contribute to higher costs for hotels, he said.
Mr Chaowaphat said after the Brisbane property is fully refurbished into a five-star hotel next year, the group should gain 70-80% of revenue from Australian properties, with the remainder from Thailand.
Using an acquire and renovate model, the group aims to add four more buildings in four locations to the portfolio over five years, in Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Bangkok.
Mr Chaowapat said its brand presence in Australia should help attract more Australian guests to Thai properties, helping the group fill up hotels during low season when the European market drops.