Asia

Thailand’s hotels adapt to rising international demand and competitive market

Thai hotels see 90% international check-ins in 2023, despite room rate hikes, driven by festivals and new travel trends, requiring dynamic revenue management.

BANGKOK, THAILAND – Hotel operators in Thailand are finding themselves adapting to a new era of travel. As international arrivals at hotels increased by an average of 33% globally in 2023, overseas guests accounted for 90% of check-ins at Thai hotels. This is despite a 19% rise in the average cost of a hotel room, which underscores the growing interest among travellers to explore one of the world’s leading destinations.

Major public events that drive significant hotel booking volumes are also playing a role in this new era of travel. Case in point, the Songkran festival held in April, which hosted nearly 2 million foreign tourists – a significant 38% rise compared to 2023. During the festival period, domestic travel also boomed, with local travellers making up 23% of bookings, up from just 13% in January and February.

While these figures highlight Thailand’s widespread appeal, they also paint an increasingly competitive landscape. This year, the local accommodation sector is expected to add around 10,000 new rooms and welcome an influx of Chinese and Indian travellers, with the government granting visa exemptions for both nationalities.

As competition rises among the country’s accommodation properties, hotel operators need to be more dynamic than ever before to stay ahead. In Thailand, the properties that I see gaining the biggest revenue advantage are those that can adapt to emerging trends by leveraging real-time, reliable data. Data that empowers them to capitalise on time-sensitive revenue opportunities, such as the announcement of a major event, changes in a competitor’s pricing or the emergence of new traveller source markets.

It goes without saying that revenue management is no longer optional or exclusive to large hotel brands. Rather, it has become increasingly necessary for every Thai property, whether it’s a small boutique property or a beachside bungalow. Describing the necessity, Fon Panananda Leeyawatanakul, Director of Sales at Neera Retreat near Bangkok, said, “The pandemic reshaped travel preferences, with a surge in demand for staycations and nearby getaways … Though we don’t have direct competitors in our immediate vicinity, we closely monitor neighbouring destinations and similar properties to ensure our pricing strategies remain competitive.”

The need to act fast

In today’s competitive landscape, speed is also crucial, as the widespread adoption of smartphones has simplified transactions for customers and empowered businesses to execute strategies on demand.

Thailand is no stranger to the convenience that smartphones provide. With 70% of the population owning a smartphone, the country ranks second globally for time spent on these devices. Moreover, Thais spend around 9 hours per day on their mobile phones, compared to the global average of 6 hours and 43 minutes.

It’s for this reason that SiteMinder launched a mobile app that simplifies revenue management for hotels not only in Thailand, but everywhere in the world, making it more accessible.

With its real-time capabilities, the app ensures that no revenue opportunity goes unrealised. Local hoteliers can now easily manage their property using their mobile phone as the app is also available in Thai. A comment from one of the app’s early adopters underscores its effectiveness in meeting the local industry’s evolving needs:

SiteMinder’s mobile app is very easy to use. We can easily access our dashboard and adjust our room inventory or rate at any time,” says Chanchai Suwanakitti, General Manager at Hotel Tropicana in Chonburi.

Thai hoteliers can now confidently embrace this new era of travel, knowing they have the support they need to succeed.

Gone are the days when revenue management was considered merely as an optional capability. If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that revenue management is critical for every hotel to sustain and grow its business, regardless of economic conditions. Thanks to technology, revenue management is now within reach of every Thai hotelier.

George, in his capacity as an intern, diligently oversees the flow of news, assists in the publication of content, and delves into the strategies of social media distribution. He is currently pursuing his studies in Business Administration at the Athens University of Economics and Business.

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