Travel And Tour World has a wonderful interaction with Kris Theerarak, General Manager, Thai Airways International PCL at the fun-filled fam trip organised by THAI Airways and Tourism Authority of Thailand, Delhi. He explains how THAI Smile continues to expand its new routes and reinforcing the leading full-service airline in the region with international aviation…
Travel And Tour World – THAI Smile introduces non-stop flight from Kolkata to Bangkok, exclusively 5 flights a week, welcoming more East Indian travelers to Thailand with world-class standard services. What are the services you are offering?
Kris Theerarak: THAI Smile Airways, which is a 100% subsidiary of THAI Airways, provides full service with the same standard as with that of THAI Airways. Excellent customer experience is one of our key strategies. THAI Smile offers excellent services in every touch points from reservation, check in until In-flight service that will help us develop new customer base and increase market share in India. In addition, passengers can enjoy the comfort in the new Airbus A320-200, which offers smooth and safe travel. As such, excellent service from THAI Smile Airways flight attendants, who are committed to providing comfort and warm Thai hospitality with heartfelt services through their smiles, a unique Thai character, that is internationally recognized. Furthermore, passengers are able to enjoy the food of your choice. For India travelers, meal will be prepared in Indian style cuisine under strict faith based guidelines. Jane vegetarian and non-vegetarian will be your choice of meal on board.
Travel And Tour World: Tell us about pricing structure of THAI Smile
Kris Theerarak: The airline has normally considered dynamically changing the pricing according to the demand, available capacity, cost and market dynamics. Therefore, dynamic airfares normally rely on a series of algorithms to determine the optimal number of seats to be allocated to different fares or fare classes.
THAI Smile definitely supports THAI Airways with a scaled-down product and service while not affecting the long-haul pricing. The lower cost structure of narrow-body aircraft will definitely allow THAI Smile to explore more exotic destinations while driving operational efficiency.
Travel And Tour World: What is your target market and what is your marketing strategy to attract more East Indian passengers?
Kris Theerarak: Our strategy will rely on the Traveler Market Segmentation for:
O Pilgrimage Tour Packages for Gaya and Varanasi
O Holiday Groups
O Business Travel & MICE delegates
O Destination for wedding parties and honeymooners
O Medical Tourism as India account for 90 percent of Asia’s medical tourism industry and as one of the “big three”
However, we are strategically targeting both business and leisure travelers. Excellent customers experience is one of our key strategies. THAI Smile offers excellent services in every touch point from reservation, check in until In-flight service that will help us develop new customer base and increase market share in India. Nevertheless, Kolkata, our latest route, is becoming a chosen destination for MICE, we expect to see multiple events being held internationally in India and expectedly, it will lead us to make more sales in the near future. We therefore are definitely pleased to support international Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions by offering some benefits and services to organizer.
Travel And Tour World – What are your plans to promote THAI Smile?
Kris Theerarak: We aim to generate awareness of the product and services in India by strengthening relations with existing travel partners and forging new strategic partnerships with specialized operators in a number of various segments. Travel agents are important channels for us particularly in expanding our business in India. Not only they can help us access to our target customers but also help communicate in a traditional way. In addition, we will focus more on the launching marketing campaigns throughout the year as to encourage both Thai and Indian tourists to choose our services through various channels of media both in Thailand and India.
Travel And Tour World – The Thailand government had waived off visa on arrival fees for Indian passport holders, (1 December 2018 to 31 January 2019). What is the impact you have seen with this and what is the percentage of travelers from east travelling to Thailand?
Kris Theerarak: India tourists who apply for the visa-on-arrival fees (VOA) have been increased for 72.6 % and the request of visa at the Embassy has been decreased to 29.8%, compared to two periods (November 17 – March 18 & November 18 – March 19). Indian tourist numbers have been increased for 24.1% in 2019. Therefore, these figures apparently show that the waiver of VOA is a key factor to stimulate Indian tourists to travel in Thailand more and more.
Travel And Tour World – THAI Smile has started operating from Kolkata to Bangkok from March 31, 2019. Tell us about the response you received from MICE (business travelers) and leisure tourists (holiday vacationers). Please provide us the data of eastern Indian passengers travelling to Thailand and its tourism destination.
Kris Theerarak: We have receiving good response from MICE and business travelers so far. However, we understand the immense need for passengers travelling among the key 6 cities: Mumbai, Gaya, Varanasi, Jaipur, Lucknow and Kolkata. We wish to make it more comfortable and affordable to Indian passengers, hopefully that we can facilitate our products and services to suit all traveler segments
Travel And Tour World – What are your future plans to make THAI Airways more optimized in operations, ticket bookings and improved passenger experience?
Kris Theerarak: Service is a pivotal element of THAI Smile’s business. Not only do we foster the service-from-the-heart culture among our staff and a habit of giving attention to every detail, but we also focus of delivering full service on par with THAI Airways’ standard. We expect our customers enjoy the excellent quality of service at every touch point from flight booking and check-in to inflight service.Passengers can be impressed with the inflight comfort and convenience of our Airbus A320-200 aircrafts which provide smoother and safer journey. The service excellence also includes the strong commitment of our cabin crews to express the warmth of Thai hospitality through a wide variety of delicious food, the Thai unique customer service tradition with smile, proper baggage allowance and other services given for greater passenger convenience. At present, customers can search for flights, book a ticket, pay and check in via THAI Smile Airways application or visit www.thaismileair.com.