The program was a three-day immersion seminar with two primary purposes. The first was to allow graduate-level students to participate in a "real world" research project at the site of an industry leader’s operation. The second was to allow a hospitality business (Siam City Hotel) to have creative and professional strategic solutions presented to them. Because the CNI program comprises only experienced graduate students, they were able to offer unique perspectives and insights for the hotel. As Laura Hooton, a student from Oregon, USA, put it: “Working with a local family-owned business has been great as we’ve been able to learn first-hand what the Thai hospitality industry is all about. I think our visit has been mutually valuable, we students have gained valuable knowledge and it’s been gratifying to have our ideas taken seriously.”
As Jason M. Friedman, General Manager of Siam Hotels’ luxury property, The Siam, and a Cornell alumnus explains, “I was honoured when Professor Kimes showed interest in working with us. There is always intense competition by the big international hospitality brands to get Professor Kimes’ group to do a project with them and the fact that a domestic Thai brand was chosen is a great compliment to Siam Hotels’ brand positioning worldwide.” These sentiments were echoed by the hotel’s president and owner, Kamala Sukosol, who also viewed it as a tremendous opportunity to combine forces. “We are a strong local brand facing increased competition in Bangkok. I was very thankful that Jason could bring about this collaboration with Professor Kimes and the Cornell School. As the industry changes rapidly, new insights are necessary to help us compete in the market.”
Professor Kimes said working with the Siam City Hotel was particularly wonderful because of the gracious co-operation and exciting repositioning currently going on. “It was a dream situation because the hotel’s management was very willing to get involved, share knowledge and extend every professional courtesy to my students. This is not the norm and I was thrilled with the level of learning for the students. As the hotel is also about to rebrand (“The Sukosol” launches in June), our visit could not have been more timely.”
As part of their in-country immersion program, the Cornell students also undertook some local philanthropy. They visited the Mirror Foundation in Bangkok to sort book and clothing donations for schools in rural Thailand that were affected by the recent floods. The students all found this community involvement immensely worthwhile and will continue to fundraise for the organisation upon their return to Singapore.
About Siam Hotels & Resorts
Siam Hotels & Resorts is the award-winning owner and operator of the best collection of bespoke and soulful hotels in Thailand. The world-class portfolio includes the Siam City Hotel, Bangkok (470 rooms); Siam Bayshore Resort & Spa, Pattaya (270 rooms); Bayview Hotel, Pattaya (260 rooms); The Siam (opening June 2012), Bangkok (39 rooms) and Wave (opening November 2012), Pattaya (21 rooms). Siam Hotels cater to the needs of refined and intrepid travellers by providing superb value, intuitive service, artsy uniqueness and unparalleled excellence. Whether situated in the heart of a major metropolis like Bangkok or nestled on the shore of Pattaya Bay, each Siam establishment provides guests with a truly memorable and authentically Thai experience from the heart.