A new report by SiteMinder, the global hotel industry’s leading guest acquisition platform, has signalled the importance for Thailand’s hoteliers to employ new marketing, distribution and operational strategies to cater for the looming rise in domestic travel.
SiteMinder’s latest Changing Traveller Report, based on nearly 600 survey responses, has found that close to two-in-three Thai locals are in the ‘planning’ phase of their next local trip, and almost 10 percent are actively booking. Of those surveyed, 74 percent intend to travel before the end of the year, including 42 percent in the next three months.
The findings follow the announcement of a 22.4 billion baht (US$718 million) domestic stimulus package, which forms a part of the Thai Government’s efforts to soften the impacts of the coronavirus on the local tourism industry.
SiteMinder’s regional vice president – Asia Pacific, Bradley Haines, says while the findings show a positive outlook for Thailand’s hoteliers who need local support more than ever before, they also mean a shift in strategy is needed.
“To date, hotel arrivals in Thailand have largely comprised international guests. For the foreseeable future, and over the coming months especially, however, Thai hoteliers must ensure that they factor local travellers into their approach. Our study confirms that the majority of those travellers are currently organising a getaway within the country while international borders remain largely closed,” says Bradley.
“While the ‘travel bubble’ arrangements planned for the months ahead will help to create a substantial uptick in international bookings, the travels of locals are crucial to Thailand’s hotel businesses as they recover from the current pandemic. Our study suggests that the Thai Government’s stimulus package is having a strong influence on the decision-making process of local holidaymakers, and SiteMinder welcomes their newfound interest for the necessary rebound of our critical accommodation sector and economic wellbeing of the entire country.”
Among other key findings, SiteMinder’s report has found that Thai accommodation seekers will be taking shorter holidays post-COVID in 47 percent of cases and will be taking longer trips only 11 percent of the time. Well-promoted health and safety practices are top of mind for travellers, with more than half (52 percent) voting those practices as the most important factor when booking their stays, followed by the ability to freely cancel or modify a booking (21 percent).
Nearly three-in-five trips will be organised within a month of departure.