July 17, 2014 00:00 By SUCHAT SRITAMA THE NATION 4,464 Viewed
THAILAND PRIVILEGE CARD (TPC), back from the brink of extinction, has given itself a road map to try to make its Thailand Elite Card a viable business proposition by attracting more high-society members from around the world.
At least seven key plans have been drafted – mainly to rebuild its damaged image, restore business and clean up internal management – so that it can pursue main targets such as the elite, celebrities, VIPs and leaders from around the world.
The company had to freeze its marketing activities for five years from 2009 to last September because of huge losses and the political crisis.
However, all card members have enjoyed full privileges and services at airports and vendor partners ever since the company was established by the government in 2003.
President Apisit Chuenchompoo said yesterday that TPC has appointed 20 company sales agents and 10 individual representatives to boost business. The new teams have succeeded in selling 42 cards since last October.
Their target groups are expatriates, tourists, long-stayers, educators, medical and healthcare professionals, “lifestyle travellers”, business travellers and celebrities. Apisit took the top management job last October for a four-year term.
To enhance internal management, the company is installing a new information-technology system at a cost of Bt20 million. It is also giving intensive training to 105 staff and “Elite Personal Assistants” working at airports.
It has appointed or reappointed about 500 vendors – mostly hotels, restaurants, golf clubs, spas, hospitals and educational institutions throughout the country – to provide services to members.
Beside the lifetime membership and the Bt2-million, 20-year membership, the company has designed two more products to capture specific niche markets.
The Property Card charges a membership fee of Bt1 million, half of the individual membership fee. Once members are approved, they can buy a condominium in Thailand.
Thailand Easy Access was created to attract first-time or trial members who may travel to Thailand often. With a low fee of Bt500,000, members will not receive services at airports.
The company increased the sales commission for agents from 5 per cent per deal to 11-15 per cent. Rebuilding the confidence of foreigners is the first priority. Roadshows have already been held in Myanmar, Cambodia, South Korea, China, Vietnam and Dubai and will soon proceed to Japan.
TPC recently signed an agreement with MJets, a private aviation service providing world-class business and leisure charter flights connecting virtually all of Asia and adjoining regions.
MJets will offer private jet service with special discounts for TPC members.
MJets claims to have a diverse and growing fleet of aircraft in compliance with the highest global business aviation standards, along with a range of cabin configurations and amenities tailored to ensure maximum comfort and convenience, reliable flight performance and safety.
It says its fleet can meet all business and personal requirements its customers expect from private jet travel, regardless of travel purpose, route or destination.
According to current TPC deals, a new 20-year membership costs Bt2 million. Annual dues are Bt200,000. That comes with a five-year multiple-entry visa for unlimited passage in and out of Thailand as well as a one-year stay privilege.
Elite Personal Assistants are on standby to serve members at airports in Bangkok, Phuket, Samui and Chiang Mai, and a call centre is available around the clock for member assistance. Privileges include the free use of five-star golf courses and spas for 24 times per calendar year.
Applicants need to show any non-Thai passport and must not be considered banished by any legal system.
There are 2,570 members from 45 countries around the world, of whom half are from China, South Korea, Japan and India.
Because of limited cash flow of only Bt35 million at the company, the sales target set for October 2013 to September 2014 has been scaled down from 1,300 to only 100 cards.
However, Apisit believes in an increase of 400 members in 2015 and 500 deals in 2016.
If the company achieves the target, it will continue with its Bt500-million re-branding project. One of the main ideas is to rename the brand from “Thailand Elite” to “Thailand Privilege” to show that it is the first national privilege card in the world with the best services.
The firm may also work with many vendors to create co-brands for products and services such as spas, massage centres and restaurants so it can promote them overseas more easily.