A Passionate Affair
Business life for Jom P Salakshana has been a learning experience like little other. Drawing on the principles, acumen, and entrepreneurship skills of his father and grandfather before him, has put him in good stead to succeed in a very competitive business environment. Today, his business dealings span real estate development in Bangkok, luxury island resorts, and the marketing and sales of the family business, the Prungthip table salt brand. In fact, it was his family’s long-standing connection with the idyllic Koh Tao and Jom’s love for the oceans that has, to some extent, fuelled his passion to be successful.
“The two people who inspired and shaped the way I think and do things were my late father and grandfather, the head of the Srifeungfung family. Both men were very industrious and self-sacrificing. My father always made sure we were busy as kids and he made us appreciate being enterprising in life, in our spare time, in business, and in everything we did. You could say that the entrepreneur spirit was nurtured in me from a very young age. After university, I worked for 8 years in Singapore and Hong Kong at a bulge bracket investment bank before returning home to Thailand. That very challenging, competitive, and rigorous work regime gave me an opportunity to be exposed to the best business leaders in the region. It gave me the confidence that anything is achievable,” says Jom.
As Managing Director and Owner of Modena Development Company Limited, developer and operator of Haadtien Resort and Haadtien Beach Club, a twin resort with 144 guest rooms, dive centre, and spa, and real estate developer of Fynn Aree and the upcoming Fynn Sukhumvit 31 condominiums, Jom is passionate about hospitality and real estate and knows he needs to be very clear in his vision. Absorbing the lessons of his forefathers, the young developer looks to apply the all he has learned to the modern business world.
“What you are passionate about is what you are going to think about the most, you are going to find that special something. You are going to know it, feel it, and live it so much more. That’s the essence of being an entrepreneur and I believe it translates into business. Making money and creating something people want and desire needs inspiration. It requires positiveness and passion. I believe that as an entrepreneur you live what you do and that is my life in essence.
“I think what differentiates us from our competitors is that we are a niche developer and that plays to my strengths. We have to be very pure to what our DNA is and we need to be nimble and very close to our customers at the same time. We’re embracing all types of technologies to make sure we bring only the best in our real estate developments,” he adds.
Social media and e-commerce is key for all hotels and resorts in Thailand as they compete and compliment the wide range of online travel agents that vie for the millions of rooms that are booked via the Internet each year. Before the Internet age, travellers to Thailand’s island were besieged at the departure docks, on the boats, and then again when they arrived at the island by hotel and resort reps, but in less than a decade all that changed.
“My mentality to business is to always be innovative and up to speed on what our customers want and what they are doing. What technologies are our guests using to find and book with us and how we can leverage this information with our online marketing skills. Travellers to Koh Tao are really Internet savvy and they are booking their stays through a variety of online channels.
“At our two resorts, Haadtien and Beach Club, our guests have the best of both worlds. Before we developed the site, I asked myself one question: What was our sustainable competitive advantage? It wasn’t that we were fashionable or boutique or that we were a branded property. It was that we were independent. That was our strength. By developing Haadtien, we turned the land into a living, breathing entity that gives back to the community that surrounds us. We’ve gone out of our way to make sure people can be proud of our resort. I’ve tried to keep the essence of the location; how it used to be. I wanted to introduce an element of design and function and I really believe we have achieved that goal with our unique atmosphere,” he concludes.