“It’s going to be the event of the year!” says Anthony Lark, the President of Phuket Hotels Association, about the upcoming PHAB gala. Why? Here’s why.
For our readers who haven’t heard about the PHAB events – what is it all about?
Anthony Lark: Phuket Hotels Association Benefit isn’t just about giving money to charities; it’s about earning that money to support Phuket children whose parents cannot afford to pay for their education. So, maybe there’s this kid who wants to get a Food Science degree. With that degree, he will get a job as a Chef, or a Demi Chef, but if he doesn’t have it, he may be stuck in lower grade jobs. Education is a gift that can of course change lives.
What we also do is that we show – to the island, to Phuket Governor, to the Ministry of Tourism, and the Ministry of Education, that we are not just a bunch of hoteliers sitting around and complaining about Phuket’s problems. We are actually doing something proactive, supporting the local community together, as a group.
For the guests, it’s a few hours of fun, but for Phuket Hotels Association it’s months of preparation.
There were many ways in which we could raise these funds, but we knew that the best way to generate interest and financial support from the locals – island’s expats, hotel, yachting and property businesses, diving companies etc., – everybody who lives here, was to hold a fantastic event. But we didn’t want another dinner in a hotel ballroom, so we decided to make it glamorous. Take the food for example – the best Phuket hotels put their best chefs to work, so it’s probably the best food you’ll get in one room anywhere on this island.
We wanted to enhance this with an entertainment experience that was unusual for Phuket; to get international acts to give the event a bit of a “Wow Factor”. Last year we had this big Italian jazz swing band and people loved them…so we asked them to headline the event again. They agreed, and they are even paying for their own airfares! But there’s going to be more – more songs, more acts, more fun. We’ve got Charleston dancers organized by Revelare Dance who will produce an absolutely spectacular show in the theme of Great Gatsby. And there will be Ben Jay, who I think is the best DJ on this island. Its full-on entertainment.
How do you collect funds?
In three ways. We have an innovative system online, whereby visiting phab.phukethotelsassociation.com you can take part in an online auction. You can see all the prizes and enter a secret bid for any of them, which keeps being updated up until the night of the event. Then, at the event, we will have an MC who will do a live auction of the top 5-10 prizes. Finally, we have a silent auction, with beautiful presentations of all of the prizes, so that you can wander around the room and put your name next to the one that you like.
What prizes are we talking about?
Some incredible deals. Last year we had the Savoy Hotel in London, Park Hyatt Sydney, Aman Resorts and many others – crazy prizes that you’d never see at other events. And those who bid always get an excellent deal, I’d say the average price paid vs the market value is probably 50%.
This year we have even more extraordinary prizes – stays with Trisara, Accor, The Standard New York, Langham Sydney, Marriott Asia Pacific, Potato Head Bali, 137 Pillars BKK & Chiang Mai and other serious prizes like an amazing dinner at Gaggan, great yacht trips and much more.
And all of that money goes to the education fund?
Our costs are very low because our hotels provide the food, labuor, all of the equipment and so on. Laguna Management donates the event venue, with decoration and light and sound, beverages, media sponsors and more, all supporting this amazing effort. And the funds raised are managed by our finance committee, who work with the Phuket International Women’s Club on screening and selecting the lucky local students.
After the last year’s event, we already have 20 underprivileged children who are undergoing 3 to 5 years of full-time education in hospitality management, producing the next generation of chefs, front office managers, general managers etc. It’s an investment in the future.
Learn more at phab.phukethotelsassociation.com