The company is aware of and underlines the importance of sustainable risk management, which has led to a review of risk factors encompassing all business activities by taking into consideration internal and external factors. This includes assessments of direct and indirect opportunities and their impacts to our operation. The purpose is to enhance the risk management procedures, turn them into part of corporate culture to assure stakeholders when trying to achieve corporate goals and minimize possible losses.
Risk management during the Covid-19 crisis
The Covid-19 pandemic has unleased direct impact to our business. Risk management resulting from the outbreak started in Q1/2020 to respond to immediate situations at the time. A crisis management team was formed under the business risk management plan to manage and implement various measures upon close monitoring.
The crisis management was divided into three periods as follows.
The devastating impact of the Covid-19 crisis prompted the company to temporarily close 66 hotels in Thailand from April 1, 2020 and five hotels in the Philippines from March 19, 2020 to relieve short-term impacts. Certain groups of these hotels however resumed their operation in May 2020. The back-to-business operation was done in four phrases as follows.
Hop Inn Thailand, As the hotel mainly targeted local customers, they gradually resumed the operation from May 18, 2020 before all 44 branches were in full operation on June 1, 2020.
In June 2020, The Erawan Group reopened its hotels in Pattaya and Hua Hin areas, for their main customers were Thais who could travel there by car in relatively short time. Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort and Ibis Hua Hin resumed their operation on June 12, 2020. Ibis Pattaya saw its door opened on June 26, 2020.
In July 2020, Hotels in Bangkok, namely, Grand Hyatt Hotel Bangkok and JW Marriot Bangkok, resumed their operation, initially targeting Thai customers to experience hotel restaurants. In addition, two budget hotels in Bangkok, namely, Ibis Bangkok Sathorn and Ibis Bangkok Riverside, were opened. Holiday Inn Pattaya in the resort town of Pattaya was added on to the opening list.
From August 1, 2020 The company reopened the remaining 14 hotels in Thailand and three Hop Inn hotels in the Philippines.
Underlining the importance of liquidity and cashflow management, the group has implemented measures to continue mitigating impacts from Phase 1 of the Covid-19 crisis till at present. This included negotiating with stakeholders to defer payments and expenses, deferring payment of the principal due for repayment with creditor banks and temporarily suspension of all investment plans. The group remained confident to possess enough cashflow and liquidity to operate under the challenge. Taking care of stakeholders was one of the measures in this phrase to minimize impacts they faced from this crisis. Details are as follows.
For short-term recovery, we focused on upgrading the cleanliness and safety standards at our hotels starting from the early days of the pandemic. All hotels in Thailand and the Philippines were to comply with the most stringent monitoring and prevention measures as recommended by the government. This was something we gave priority to amidst the intensity of the situation. Measures included social distancing, temperature measurement to screen staff and customers entering the premise, providing alcohol gel and disinfecting and cleaning hotel common areas. However, as hotels gradually resumed operation, the group strengthened hotel safety and hygienic measures by, for example, upgrading disinfection level standards within the hotels, implementing hygienic measures at hotel restaurants and function rooms and enabling e-payment. Right now, all hotels in Thailand have passed the SHA safety hotel standards set by Ministry of Tourism and Sports together with Ministry of Public Health.
The group has focused more on revenues from local customers where online marketing was used to disseminate information together with collaboration with the government sector to help recovering the local tourism industry.
Regarding long-term recovery, we keep monitoring the situation and make ourselves ready whenever the situation is better and when foreign visitors are allowed to re-enter the country.
The group continues to focus on developing the organization for sustainable growth with agility to adapt to all situations. This is done by enhancing our products and services to respond as much as possible to customer’s needs through the all-dimension product development. Staff are encouraged to enhance skills so that they are diverse enough to accommodate rapid business changes, which therefore should lead to lower costs of HR management and increase access to all customers. We also encourage participation and co-existence of all stakeholders in the entire value chain for the sustainable growth of the Thai tourism sector.
Managing impacts affecting suppliers in the supply chain
The Company underlines the importance of a transparent and fair procurement process and is against all forms of corruption. As a result, we provide channels for suppliers to file a complaint while a satisfaction survey of suppliers is regularly conducted to gather information and classify suppliers under the supply chain for effective management. Suppliers are classified into two groups as follows.
- Suppliers in the Project Development
- Suppliers in the Operation & Assessment
For hotels managed by different brands, quality of goods and services especially food from suppliers is subject to regular examination for the purpose of safety and wellbeing. We strive to grow with our suppliers, to jointly develop products and services for customers through transparent supervision and management to reduce economic, social and environmental impacts. We also issue the Code of Ethics for business partners and solicit compliance from suppliers. We have ranked the suppliers and partners for evaluation and monitoring in 2022.
As customers are pivotal to our business, The Erawan Group Plc., commits to nurture and maintain strong relationship with all kinds of customers. The company intends to take care of customers prior to, during and after experiencing services, which encompass hotel rooms, restaurants or other services. Customer’s satisfaction survey is carried out at every step of service on a regular basis to make sure that customers are happy. Continued improvement of our services is also our priority, which is done through opinions solicited from customers before being analyzed to better respond to their needs. Service enhancement will be periodically updated to reflect changing consumption behaviors based on the latest trend. For example, attempts are made to apply the same cleanliness and hygiene standards to all types of hotels and the online reservation system has been refined to make it more user-friendly.
Customer’s satisfaction development plan
To improve the quality of service, the company focuses on utilizing technology to advantage of being able to meet the needs of customers and improve the efficiency of the work process. In 2021, the Hop Inn hotel, owned and managed by the company, developed a Chatbot system to increase the booking channels. Previously the main proportion of Hop Inn Hotel booking is from the call center system, which a team of customer service staff must be available 24 hours a day. Recently the company has rapidly expanded hotel branches and the need of bookings via call center system are exponentially higher. The company therefore developed a Chatbot system with ZWIS.AI on Facebook and Line Official platforms. The system can automatically respond to customers which more convenient and reduce the process room booking. The expanding of booking channel is one of the factors that contributes to increase the number of the Hop Inn Hotel member up 28 percent from the previous year.
The Chatbot system has helped minimize the need for night shift workforce and reduce workflows, moreover increase efficiency in other areas of work. The Company is committed to respond to customer and employee feedback and continue to improve service and encourage employees to search for the new innovations to optimize their work.
HOP INN Membership
Working innovation in response to technological change
The COVID-19 pandemic was a travel barrier to regularly audit hotel standard and the progress of construction project. We've modified the method of works to increase monitoring efficiency on hotel operation and construction projects throughout Thailand by applying the mobile application platform to work process. It can reduce costs, work- related travel, procedures, and duration of work. Apart from working faster and efficiently, it increases employee safety and well-being. In addition, to support the business plan, which aims to expand the network of Hop Inn Hotel, The Development and Maintenance Department has designed a data storage system (Power BI) for analysing maintenance data aiming to solve problems in maintenance and reduce redundancy costs, This will lead to better planning for cost saving and alternatives materials that last longer and easier to maintenance.
Response to Digital transformation and Data Security
The company and its affiliates have established policies and guidelines to maintain the security of information systems, data storage including supportive measures in the event of an emergency as follows;
- Prepare to support. The Personal Data Protection Act and the Computer Crime Act, both in terms of training and educating employees and install the software system to protect corporate data and relevant stakeholders
- Study tools and methods for managing, monitoring, and analyzing cybersecurity systems.
- Conduct a phishing mail test to make employees aware of email usage.
- Educate employees to be aware of various threats via email, intranet, and social media by giving examples of cybersecurity cases from time to time to prevent potential risks.
- Prepare a 5-year plan on information technology to support the changes and growth of the company.
- Optimize the ERP program to support the use of new browsers instead of the original browsers that manufacturers will stop supporting in 2022, which will cause program vulnerabilities.
- Optimize the Windows operating system to support Active Directory and Security by Azure AD.