Executive Board
Connecting Tourism Globally

James Thurlby

Acting President

James, who will be President of Skal Bangkok from March 2022, has lived and worked in Thailand since 2018. He is a senior digital marketing manager for Move Ahead Media, managing campaigns for clients across a range of industries including travel and tourism.

James’ career history since leaving full time education in the UK has been almost exclusively in marketing and predominantly within the leisure, hotels, tourism sector. Working in countries around Europe, for a number of companies including Thomas Cook group, he firmly established himself in the travel industry. In addition, he has experience in B2C sales and marketing for Haven Holidays and briefly in the motor industry.

This 20 year career brings a wealth of knowledge including a keen understanding of consumer purchase decisions and motivations that is acutely attuned to the needs of the Skal membership.

Andrew Wood

Past President

Andrew J Wood was born in Yorkshire England, he is a professional hotelier, Skalleague and travel writer. Andrew has 48 years of hospitality and travel experience. Educated at Batley Grammar School and a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew started his career in London, working with various hotels. His first posting overseas was with Hilton International in Paris, and he later arrived in Asia in 1991 with his appointment as Director of Marketing at the Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok and has remained in Thailand ever since. Andrew has also worked with the Royal Garden Resort Group (Vice President) – renamed now Anantara – and the Landmark Group of Hotels (Vice President of Sales and Marketing). Latterly he has been the General Manager at the Royal Cliff Group of Hotels in Pattaya and the Chaophya Park Hotel Bangkok & Resorts.

A past board member of Skål International (SI), National President SI Thailand and is currently President of SI Bangkok and a VP of both SI Thailand and SI Asia. In 2019, Andrew was awarded SKÅL’s highest award the distinction of Membre D’Honneur and holds

Awards
2013 Order of Merit
2019 Membre d’Honneur
2020 Skål President’s Special Awards

Tom Sorensen

Director of Memberships

Tom’s very first job was in the airline industry. Straight out of school in Denmark, still a teenager, Tom worked for Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) for 25 years.

His overseas postings included being General Manager Indonesia (Jakarta), Area Manager East Africa (Nairobi), and Country Manager Thailand (Bangkok). Following this 25 years with SAS, Tom set-up and managed his own GSA (General, Sales Agent) in Indonesia representing SAS in Jakarta and TransAsia of Taiwan in Surabaya.

Tom joined the Skal organization in Jakarta in 1983, yes 1983.

Today, in Bangkok, Tom is an executive search veteran with over 25 years’ experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in retained executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.

Marvin Bemand

Director Of Public Relations

Marvin’s experience over the past 30+ years covers Media, Technology, Advertising and Hotel Loyalty in Australia and the Asian region.

He has designed some of hospitality’s leading loyalty programmes, as Group Director of Loyalty Marketing reporting to the COO, he designed Centara – The 1 Card www.centara1card.com, which now has over 8 million members across 65 properties in 8 countries.

As Regional Director, Asia at RCI (Wyndham Hotels) Marvin designed MyXcapades.com which is affiliated to 4,500 hotels in 100 countries.

Marvin also managed Accor’s Advantage Plus programme in Thailand (now called Accor Plus) across all of Accor Thailand’s 30+ properties /brands in Thailand.

Marvin has a proven sales record which covers loyalty, technology, customer experience, digital transformation and strategy, he has a growth mindset, delivering significant success / revenue across the Asian region, with an established track record developing new business and P&L Management in Asia. Experienced in business development, sales, client management, operations, finance, and HR. Deep market knowledge in Asia Pacific with extensive C-level industry contacts. Adept, with a reputation as the “go to” person for business development, strategy, analytics and high business impact projects in the region.

Also with deep expertise in customer interaction & relationship management, customer experience management, loyalty program design, management, marketing communications, call center management and partnership development experience across Asia. Marvin has CRM & customer engagement solutions experience for hoteliers, he is experienced consulting to hotel groups on design, optimisation & management of local, regional, global loyalty & partnership programs.

In 2013, Marvin was recognised as one of the leading loyalty executives in the Asia Pacific region.

Marvin also worked in digital transformation for Ogilvy, being one of the first business development director’s for Ogilvy globally (recruited by Ogilvy’s Chief Operating Officer, Asia Pacific to further develop + drive Ogilvy’s non traditional business development strategy/roadmap for Ogilvy Thailand i.e. Digital Transformation, Customer Experience, Platform, Technology, Loyalty via B2C and B2B2C channels (including sourcing new RFP’s) from Marvin’s extensive network of contacts at CxO level in Thailand and across the Asian region.

This includes, Partnership, Customer Experience (Cx) / Digital Transformation / Loyalty and Platform sales to align with Ogilvy’s consulting-led approach and Ogilvy’s COE ‘end to end’ strategy leveraging Ogilvy’s partners such as Adobe, Salesforce, SessionM and other cloud technology solutions. Concentrating on Technology, Digital Transformation, Customer Experience and Loyalty / CRM (excluding all traditional business for Ogilvy). Engaging with Ogilvy’s SI’s, Partners and Ogilvy’s technology companies to provide Ogilvy’s ‘end to end’ technology solution. Key verticals: Retail/QSR, Airlines, Hospitality, Financial Services – Insurance, Banking at VP, C-Suite – CEO & President level. Marvin is currently consulting in a loyalty role for a Malaysian loyalty vendor in a regional role.

In Sydney Australia, Marvin was a successful Radio Announcer for more than 15 years for Radio stations, some include: 2MMM, 2SM, 2DayFM and Sky Radio.

Marvin has lived in Thailand for 15 years, he is married to his wife Beamy for 10 years and they have a house in Bangkok and a 6 year old son Blake who goes to St Andrews International School Sathorn.

In March 2020 Marvin is proud to be elected to the Executive Committee as Director of Public Relations for Skål International Bangkok.

Michael Bamberg

Club Secretary

Hospitality professional.

29 years General Manager at HILTON. Served in Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Bahrain, Oman, Japan and China.

Peter Baines

Club Treasurer

Peter has thirty plus years in hotel finance and corporate business development, real estate development and asset management. His background includes over twenty year with FRHI, in finance and corporate development, moving on as Group CFO for Red Planet Hotels and since 2016, leading his own hotel development and asset management practice based in Bangkok. His experience includes leadership positions and projects in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Pichai Visutriratana

Director of Events for SKAL International Bangkok.

Pichai is the Sales & Marketing Consultant for The Small Hotel group (The Small Chiang Mai, The Small Krabi, Krabi La Playa Resort), as Director.

A Thai national, Pichai brings more than 27 years of sales and marketing experience in Thailand, Vietnam and Bali. After graduating with a degree in Business Administration from Assumption Business Administration College (ABAC), Pichai’s career has covered Sales And Marketing roles at the Montien Hotel Bangkok, the Felix Arnoma Swissotel Bangkok and then the Mandarin Oriental Baan Taling Ngam in Koh Samui. The hotel was later rebranded to Le Meridien Group, and Pichai was responsible for handling their 4 hotels in Thailand: Le Royal Meridien Baan Taling Ngam in Koh Samui, Le Royal Meridien Phuket Yacht Club, Le Meridien Phuket and Le Meridien Baan Boran, Chiang Rai. Pichai was part of the opening Sales and Marketing team for the Peninsula Hotel Bangkok and is one of a handful of Thai nationals who were early pioneers, with a strong sales and marketing background, to be selected and offered overseas postings in international hotel chains. After his first post as the Director of Sales & Marketing at the Melia Hanoi, Pichai moved back to Bangkok to join the Grand Hyatt Erawan and the Swissotel Nai Lert Park. Pichai later rejoined the Sol Melia Group in Bali as their Director of Sales & Marketing.

Dr. Scott Smith

Young Skal Director

Scott Michael Smith, PhD is Course Coordinator at the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Assumption University, Thailand. Scott’s doctoral dissertation focused on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the tourism industry, concentrating on the successful communication of CSR in SE Asia.

From Hawaii, Dr Scott has over 20 years of practical experience as an owner and manager in the service sector and 20 years’ experience teaching and consulting in Thailand. Working for industry legends such as Shep Gordon and Don Ho in Hawaii, as a GM for their successful restaurant and nightclubs, Scott learned from the best in the business.

Dr. Scott has worked closely with many of the leading tourism suppliers in Thailand to develop service training programs and promote strategies that make business sense and common sense. Community Based Tourism (CBT) and sustainable development is a passion of Dr Scott’s. Dr Scott has experience hosting academic

conferences and has been invited to present keynote speeches on a variety of topics throughout SE Asia. He currently serves on the editorial review board of several academic journals.