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BANGKOK 20 November 2018 20:32


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About simon43

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    Ancient Member #174
  • Birthday 06/16/1959

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  1. simon43

    Agoda Altered Hotel Review

    Booking dot com and Agoda are both owned by the same company (Priceline). Agoda is more of a full-service company, with 100% upfront customer payment. I also do not like their policy of not discosing all the service charges until you are about to provide your credit-card details. It gives the impression that the room rates are cheaper than other web-sites, which is not always the case, (and should not be the case if the listed hotel is adhering to the 'rate parity' requirements of their contracts with these travel web-sites). Agoda also 'owns' the customer, which means that they will not provide the hotel with any customer contact details. I find this an obstacle to good customer service, since I cannot easily contact the guest to obtain more details, (such as if an airport pick-up is required). Booking.com takes no upfront money from the customer, although your credit card details are taken and provided to the hotel, (unlike Agoda, which 'owns' the C/C details). The bonus with Booking dot com is that you do not have to part with your money upfront. A downside is that an unscrupulous hotel could misuse your C/C details. Booking dot com provides the hotel with customer contact details, so the hotel can easily liaise with the guest. Which is the better company to deal with? I think they both have their pros and cons. As a hotel owner, I prefer Booking dot com, because the commission I have to pay is lower than Agoda, and I have access to easy contact with my guests. I cannot think of any better benefits that Agoda offers me Simon
  2. simon43

    Agoda Altered Hotel Review

    As a hotel owner, I would say that you cannot trust any of them 100%... The best option is to compare reviews of your preferred hotel across several different booking web-sites and on TripAdvisor. Do not be put off by a single bad review when most are good reviews - some guests will post a bad review even if the service was 5-star As for hotel owners being able to delete bad reviews, I would say that this is not the case - but the web-site owner can certainly do that if they want. Simon
  3. simon43

    Agoda Altered Hotel Review

    No, of course not. If they behave appropriately and do not attempt an orgy in the swimming pool then that's fine S
  4. simon43

    Agoda Altered Hotel Review

    Tripadvisor is all about website clicks and hits. People like to read about nightmare hotels. Bad reviews get more hits Simon
  5. simon43

    Agoda Altered Hotel Review

    Not true. My airport hotel in Phuket is charged 25% commission, my Ao Nang guesthouse is charged 17% and my airport guesthouse is also 17% (I think!) I've had no major problems working with Agoda, but their commission rates are higher than some other popular agents, (such as Booking dot com), and therefore Agoda is not at the top of my list of preferred agents. I cannot influence bad customer reviews on their web-site, and nor can I get these removed, (unless there was some very fundamental error or mistake in the review). Also, unlike TripAdvisor, reviews on Agoda's website must be submitted by genuine guests who have stayed at the hotel, (since they need to provide their booking number etc). Simon PS - In 10 years of living in Thailand (and owning hotels), I can truthfully say that the only Thai women that I have seen swimming in bikinis in my pool have been prostitutes. It's a Thai thing. Good Thai girls wear shorts/shirts etc, (at least in my hotel they do!) After having 1,000s of Thai customers in my hotel, I know exactly what the score is here.
  6. simon43

    Minimising 3 Phase Installation Costs

    @electau - yes, I understand that I would not own title to the electricty poles/cables etc on public land. What is unfair is that any subsequent users of that new electricity supply line will not pay any additional premium whatsoever for benefiting from my investment in this new supply line. Only a idiot or rich fool would be willing to be the person who finances the initial pole installation. (For my previous hotel, this was only 30 meters away from a suitable supply, so I did not have to demonstrate a high level of assets or foolishness!) Simon
  7. Thanks for all the useful info. I am based in Phuket. The last time that I built such a structure (6 years ago), the build cost for a 'finished' unit (ie, painted,tiled,fittings,electricity, plumbing etc), was all of 7,500 baht/square meter, using Issan and (legal) Burmese workers. (I avoided Phuket and farang builders like the plague...) The structures are still in perfect condition, no issues at all with them. I'm working on a second hotel project, and it's good to have this up-to-date information to allow me to do some budgeting etc. Thanks Simon
  8. simon43

    Minimising 3 Phase Installation Costs

    In fact, after visiting the electricity office that was responsible for my last hotel installation, I am happily advised that I would have to pay for the complete costs of any transformer, supply poles, cabling etc - the government will not subsidise this in any way. They explained further that there were many suitable land plots to build new, small hotels, but which currently did not have a suitable 3 phase supply. The first person to develop a site such as this would have to pay the installation costs, (estimated at about 1 million baht to bring the electricity from the nearest point plus the transformer). To rub salt into the wound, the guy who pays for this first install of the power poles etc then see many new resorts being constructed in that area which would use the power poles that he paid for, yet the original payee would receive no compensation or payback!! It was because of this situation that smaller resorts would only be developed alongside existing 3 phase supply lines... I'm right by the airport, and unless I stick to the main road for land, there is absolutely no electricity supply, no telephone cable, no mains water or sewage. (This was the sitation when I build my last hotel 6 years ago some 50 meters from the main road to the airport. This is all very frustrating, because the requirement for 3 phase means that I have to limit my land search to expensive land plots that adjoin the main road. Maybe I should strike out and build an off-grid eco-lodge in Laos instead?? Simon
  9. simon43

    Learning A Musical Instrument In Thailand/Bangkok

    I have been learning to play the khaen... It is exotically local and always goes down a storm with the Issan workers My western friends think I have lost the plot somewhere My wife only allows me to practice in our little stilted house in the rubber plantations
  10. I'm just trying to get a feel for the cost of: A 2-storey building consisting of 4 equal-size rooms downstairs and 4 upstairs, (overall building width = 12 metres and depth = 10 meters, so each room = 6x5), constructed of 'it-bok', with tiled floors, walls skimmed but not painted, ceiling in place but not painted, sloping roof support framework and cement tiles in place, but no purchase/installation of electrical, plumbing items, air-con, windows etc. IE - the structural shell of the building only, including material and labour cost. I'm doing some calculations for construction of new buildings, and an approximate cost for the above would be helpful. Thanks Simon
  11. I think you have missed the point here. The position of the police, (at least it was on the various occasions when I requested documentation from them to apply for a WP), is that labour law does not apply to them because 'they are the police'. I gave up trying because my insistance on this paperwork was clearly annoying them. Simon
  12. Dictionary.com: –verb (used with object), -cut·ed, -cut·ing. 1. to kill by electricity. Simon
  13. To expand further on my views: It is because the foreign police volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, ages and state of health etc - my view is that they should not be part of the police force. In many countries, such as the UK, volunteers assist the paid police. Those volunteers have to meet strict standards of physical and mental health, morals, capabilities etc etc - and those that cannot attain these standards are not accepted for the volunteer role. In Thailand, the requirements are somewhat more lax, although there is ongoing training and background checks for police volunteers. But many volunteers who wish to help fellow tourists or expats would fail on account of their age, health (too fat!!), or lack of Thai language skills. That should not mean that they are turned away from offering their assistance. Their skills should be matched into a volunteer role that will benefit them and those whom they assist. If they should not come up to standard in their volunteer work, then this is only a reflection of their own failings, and not of an organisation which is expected to maintain high standards at all times. Of course, the problems in obtaining WPs for volunteers would kill my idea of Tourist Assistants ...... Simon
  14. I will soon need to purchase 10 flat-screen TVs for a new small hotel that I'll be building. I've looked at what is available, and see that internet TVs are avaiulable from about 13,000 baht (22 inch). These support video and audio Skype, YouTube video downloads etc. Does anyone have experience of the capabilities of these types of TV? Do they allow the user to specify and access any internet web site that they wish, such as ThaiVisa.com or web-to-email sites? Is it possible to configure the default home page on these TV sets, such that I can provide customised guest information on the default home page from my own web server? This will be a major expense for me, so I want to get independant advice/information on this subject, and not just the sales pith from the shop that is selling the equipment. Thanks Simon