With Phuket and Khao Lak located just an hour away from each other by road, event organisers are given the opportunity to create a multi-destination programme that highlights the best of both worlds. JW Marriott’s Mission Possible programme did just that with an exciting showcase team-building event held at its properties at these two locations.
Getting the brief
The event had its eight participants split into two teams, pitted against each other for three missions, two of which took place at the JW Marriott Phuket with the final showdown held at the JW Marriott Khao Lak.
The first mission, dubbed “Message in the Bottle”, involved the two teams racing to remove a message from a bottle, which was placed within a large circle. However, team members were not allowed to step into the circle or knock the bottle over. The second challenge was another exercise at teamwork, with each team balancing a ping-pong ball on a tube and carrying it from point A to point B. Finally, the third mission forced participants into JW Marriott Khao Lak’s spectacular lagoon-like pool in search of a key that unlocked a box containing pieces of the final jigsaw puzzle. These activities were combined with spa experiences at both properties, cocktails and dinner events, making the entire programme a well-rounded affair.
Not a cookie-cutter event
Mission Possible, as a team-building package, is just the skeleton. It can be fleshed out, extended and customised to suit each client’s needs and, by using two destinations, there are barely any restrictions in terms of amount and diversity of space.
Sessions can take place “in the water, on the beach, at the bar, anywhere,” states Anchalee Chamroontaneskul, director of marketing communications for Marriott Hotels, Thailand. JW Marriott Phuket’s meeting facilities can cater to 400 people while the JW Marriott Khao Lak accommodates up to 150 people. The meeting spaces of both properties combined measure approximately 1,800 sqm, excluding outdoor venues such as the beachfront or poolside platforms, and the eateries or bars that can also be used.
While Phuket is a world renowned resort location, Khao Lak has up until now been perceived as a sleepy town. But being home to several natural reserves and one of Asia’s best diving spots, Khao Lak has become a larger blip on the business industry radar.
Located in Phang Nga province just north of Phuket, Khao Lak takes its name from the Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park located there. It is a long stretch of pristine beach, surrounded by lush jungles and dotted with waterfalls.
Off the coast lie the Similan Islands – a diver’s paradise. It is “one of the last untouched areas that Thailand has to offer,” explains Roger Parnow, director of sales and marketing at JW Marriott Khao Lak. Its lack of commercialism contrasts neatly with the developed and mature flavour of Phuket.
Khao Lak On The rise
Khao Lak’s growing popularity is reflected in the number of hotels entering the market. By 2012, there will be four new hotels to meet demand, adding a total of 874 rooms to the room inventory.
“The main problem with Khao Lak for corporate groups is the perception that it is far away because it is still not so familiar. However, you can fly to Phuket, and from there, it is an hour to get to Patong beach, its popular tourist spot. But just add another 10 minutes or so, and you’re in Khao Lak – it’s really not off the face of the Earth,” says Parnow.
That Khao Lak and Phuket are so different make them both equally appealing for team building since programmes can bring together traditional elements like Thai cooking classes with adventurous outdoor activities such as elephant trekking or diving, as well as community service.
“Team building is not what it used to be five or 10 years ago. Now, people want something more meaningful,” explains Ty Collins, general manager of the JW Marriott Khao Lak. “That’s why our new team-building programme, Seek, which started just over a year ago, really focuses on community service too.”
The property sponsors an orphan elephant, a temple school and a vocational training school in the area. Companies can include local engagement elements into their team-building programme by adding any one of these places in their itinerary. JW Marriott in Phuket, on the other hand, has regular beach clean-up sessions and has a protected nesting site for leatherback marine turtles on its exclusive beach.
The success of the Mission Possible programme by JW Marriott Thailand showed that with plenty of space and exciting team-building options, Phuket and Khao Lak produce a perfect marriage. Rather than cannibalise, they feed off each other and provide organisers with great versatility.
CONTACTS: JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa and JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort and Spa
TEL: +66 2 207 9232 (Phuket) and +66 76 58 4888 (Khao Lak)