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Hotels lean on locals as market shrivels

Hotels lean on locals as market shrivels

BANGKOK: Hotels and tour operators are pivoting their sights towards domestic travellers by promoting events linked to the Thai holidays as international tourism dries up because of coronavirus fears.

By Bangkok Post

Wednesday 19 February 2020, 11:00AM

A poster displays packages available at Thai Teaw Thai. The travel fair expects 200,000 local visitors this year. Photo: Bangkok Post / Somchai Poomlard

A poster displays packages available at Thai Teaw Thai. The travel fair expects 200,000 local visitors this year. Photo: Bangkok Post / Somchai Poomlard

Promotions have been prepared to stimulate spending on room bookings during the Songkran festivities.

Of the 1,150 exhibitors joining the 54th edition of the Thai Teaw Thai travel expo, the vast majority are hotel operators, said Krit Patarapal, managing director of PK Exhibition, the organiser of the expo.

“We tend to see more promotional campaigns aimed at domestic tourists, as hoteliers want to maintain healthy revenue while international markets, especially Chinese guests, are declining,” he said. “The four-day show will attract 200,000 local visitors.”

Both local and international hotel brands are relying on value-added strategies, such as awarding extra nights or offering a free night for extra guests.

To improve food and drink revenue, hotels are promoting dining packages such as paying a three-person price for a group of four.

Mr Krit forecasts sales volume at the expo, running March 5-8, to hit B200 million, a 10% drop from last year. About 10% of local and international hotel chains are concerned about market sentiment and decided not to join the show this time.

But sales may grow by up to 10% if operators can lure high-spending tourists to provinces. The last edition of Thai Teaw Thai at Bitec saw strong advances in the Chon Buri and Rayong markets, both in terms of numbers and spending.

Phuriwat Limthavornrat, president of the Association of Domestic Travel, said his group is working on tourism packages that include special deals from hotels, restaurants and car rental firms in order to boost the flow of local travellers for the upcoming school holidays.

The association plans to organise a special tourism fair for the northeastern provinces, persuading operators from seaside provinces in the eastern region to offer tourism products to northeastern tourists under the theme “Bringing Beaches to Isan”.

“Tour operators have to come up with new activities to serve the corporate segment, which benefits from the two-times tax deduction for spending on domestic seminars from Jan 1 until Dec 3,” Mr Phuriwat said. “Tourism products are now much cheaper than in the previous high season due to the lack of international tourists.”

Daniel Simon, general manager of Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel, said the usual revenue contributions from guestrooms and food and drink are 60% and 40%, respectively.

To generate more revenue and fill the gaps caused by booking cancellations due to the coronavirus, Anantara has to offer special deals to local residents and travel industry partners.

The hotel also offers special room rates for employees of its group, Minor International, and is expanding catering services outside the hotel and joining the city’s high-end wedding fair to drum up local demand.

“We also have to implement value-added strategies to F&B units such as starting food delivery service, offering dining card programmes and voucher sales, as well as extending happy hour until later to gain more revenue from local and corporate meetings," Mr Simon said.


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Kurt | 25 February 2020 - 08:05:20

While other countries dealing with coronavirus by blocking traveling as much as possible, Thailand in contrary stubbornly try to promote/stimulate domestic travelling. Do I miss something? They just behave like nothing is happening this moment world wide.

HubertK | 24 February 2020 - 21:34:37

.bathroom won't help him.So please Mr.Kurt,stop your own ridiculous drama talk and instead leave a good tip when you  spend a night in a  hotel next time.

HubertK | 24 February 2020 - 21:20:38

I work for 30 years in the hotel/hospitality business and I agree with Mr.Pascale.The job of a housekeeper is not only stressful and tough. One need also skills and responsibility. The only drama I see here is the comment from Mr.Kurt and his incompetence.I bet he would fail miserably if he had to work for the mentioned 3 days in a hotel as a housekeeper.His experience in cleaning his own bed/b

Pascale | 24 February 2020 - 14:53:20

K,comparing cleaning your bathroom or bedroom once in a while with cleaning 15 and more rooms a day shows only that you are definitely not the brightest one.

Kurt | 24 February 2020 - 14:03:36

Let all Thai this year just remain home during coming Songkran. For 2 reasons:  1, save water, there is on Phuket no water to spill . 2, It is coronavirus time, don't travel, stay home this year, more safe for your health.

Kurt | 24 February 2020 - 13:57:33

@P, give us a break about room maid toughness. Most of us have been time wise all over the world and seen their good works.  Your '3 day' drama stuff is nonsense.  And we all cleaned  bedrooms and bathrooms at home ourselves enough during our life.  Stop drama talk.

Sir Burr | 24 February 2020 - 10:36:17

@Pascale, so is rice-planting and many other jobs that don't need an education. That wasn't shwe's point.

Pascale | 23 February 2020 - 17:44:40

@ shwe. You may not need a high education for "make beds",but the job of a room maid is a very tough one.I doubt you would be capable of doing it for longer than 3 days.

Shwe | 23 February 2020 - 09:55:23

pity Thailand cannot reduce its dependence on tourism, but that industry does not need skilled labor, you don't need much education to wait on table or make beds, and Thailand has an over supply of the low educated.

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