Monday, 4 January 2016

Panviman Changes its Website Again

I guess there is a lot of pressure to deliver when you are in charge of a 5 star hotel in Thailand. I suspect Panviman changes its key management team as frequently as Chelsea Football Club. Each new manager seems compelled to commission a new website. The last one for Panviman needed dealing with as it was hacked, and remained hacked for a number of months.

The latest website for Panviman Resort and Spa in Thong Nai Pan is a thing to behold. It is no doubt expensively put together. The opening page uses a series of full screen video clips sewn together to show what the hotel is like. It is very similar to the opening page of PayPal.

The images start with the corner of the beach that Panviman claims, then the speedboat transfer, then the less glamorous minibus transfer, then various clips of hotel rooms, restaurants, spa and fitness room. The site is successful in drawing the viewer in to the 'world of Panviman on Thong Nai Pan'. Pictures speak louder than words; and videos speak louder than pictures. In a sense Panviman has a jump on Rasananda, Buri Rasa and Santhiya in this respect.

The only downside is that the website needs a decent broadband connection (but less so than old Flash sites) and the impact is diminished by viewing the site on a smart phone (which more and more people are doing because they love their phone).

The biggest criticism is that there is a spelling mistake on every page - namely 'Guest's reviews'. The apostrophe needs to be after the 's' since they are referring to more than one guest. In the review section they use, Agoda and Review Pro. Trip Advisor is noticeable by its absence, as is the fact that the reviews are handpicked and hand coded: the reviews are not in a dynamic feed. The hotel clearly is vetting comments. The hotel also is reluctant to post links to Trip Advisor where people can book on another site.

This leads on to another point - are notorious gits when it comes to their 'price parity' clause in their agreement. It has been challenged in European courts and is an on-going blot on the reputation of the hotel booking site. They insist hotels cannot offer cheaper rates on their own website.

And yet the Panviman website offers 10% discounts on 'best available rate' for those contacting the hotel directly. It looks like flouting the rules. won't take them to court in Thailand but can sabotage Panviman in other ways. We will see.

Other noticeable changes is that the Cool Sands Pub doesn't feature at all on the new website. This surely spells the end for the expensive restaurant on the beach with buffets and live entertainment. It looks like Cool Sands is a flop - the party scene died in Thong Nai Pan Noi and the attempts to instigate a bourgeois, sedate version of the said scene has fallen on its face.