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One Night at the Property Opera

Author: Bill Barnett. Category: News Column - Phuket Gazette. Posted: 20th Oct 2012

I'm not usually one for red carpet events but last Saturday's Thailand Property Awards in Bangkok was not one to miss.

For those of you who know me, it takes a lot to bin my usual shorts, tee shirt and yes those cruel looking but so comfortable Sanuks. At least I got as far as lace up shoes, long pants, a dress shirt and even a jacket for the night at the Dusit Thani Hotel.

Of course, a line was drawn in the sand when it came to wearing a tie. I relegated all of those years ago to the deadly hallows of our community trash heap. Burn baby burn.

Aside from writing this column, which is becoming infrequently about property, I also pen a monthly sideways rant in the pages of the glossy magazine Property Report Southeast Asia.

For those who don't know, the publisher of the magazine, Ensign Media, is also behind the awards.

So, there I was, within a stone's throw of former Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij, who is also the second in command of the opposition Democrat party. Unfortunately my strategy of arriving fashionably late meant that, much to my disdain, many of my real estate friends and foes were already sufficiently lubricated and starting to get glassy eyed.

Barring a champagne IV drip, or doing rapid staccato vodka shooters, I was unfortunately all too sober and behind in my prime time mission. There were too many paparazzi types nearby for me to drag myself into the gutter.

Meanwhile the awards kicked off with a highly intelligent opening by Khun Korn, who was off afterwards to some nearby political demonstration, but certainly it was a polished piece of light hearted prose. I love Thailand and Southeast Asia as they still have the ability to laugh at themselves. Head up North to China and even stepping near a Toyota or a Honda could get you lynched.

Phuket remains at the heart of the nation's real estate sector, if not in sheer size and scope but certainly as an object of desire and symbol of success. It's easy to forget this at the worst of times but other resort markets look at this island with envy.

David Simister of CBRE, who accepted the award for Best Residential Agency in Phuket, certainly reinforced the destination brand image.

Other island winners included Bluepoint in Patong, [email protected] Beach, Anantara Vacation Club Mai Khao and Banyan Tree Residences. Local personalities such as Roland Bleszynski, Stuart Reading, Natasha Eldred, Dexter Norville, Desmond Hughes, Robert Krupica, Claude Baltes and others were on hand at the event.

One high profile award went to Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels (JLLH). They received the national award for Best Agency Deal in the sale of the Movenpick Resort Karon Beach. Certainly JLLH is busy after successful transactions in Phuket with the Evason Phuket, Laguna Beach Resort, Dusit Laguna and now flaunting a new prime West coast hotel in Kamala.

Overall Phuket was a big winner on the night in terms of image, at a time where a number of well documented issues are facing the industry. But what's important is that the awards and also the property sector continue to be an important part of promoting our brand to virtually every corner of the globe.

It's always easy to say what's going wrong here but on this night, it was great to see what's going very right.

As for next year, the awards look to be even better. I've been a judge for the past few years and never cease to be amazed by how many people walk up and innocently ask, "Aren't the awards simply for advertisers?" Perhaps it's a disconnect, but the Phuket awards team does not even have a representative from the magazine. Sure it takes time to document the entries but my advice to developers is read the criteria, see if your product qualifies and nominate away. Not only does the process elevate the industry but the value of the awards remains an intrinsic part of Thailand's public facing property business.

And my sage direction to those coming next year is - be early, drinks start at 5:30pm.

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