Hotels in Thailand have identified social media as the most important area for future investment according to a report from Grant Thornton.
The beancounters commissioned a report and talked to staff at 66 different four and five-star properties. Two-thirds of the hotels are in Bangkok.
It found that OTAs are the biggest distribution channel for its respondents, accounting for 31% of bookings with hotels' own websites not far behind with 27%. Traditional agents account for one-in-four Thai hotel bookings.
Compared with Grant Thornton's findings from neighbouring Vietnam and the Philippines, Thailand is the strongest market for OTAs, with only 22% of Vietnam and Philippines bookings coming via the OTAs. Vietnam is more reliant on traditional agents - 40% of bookings - compared with Thailand (25%) and the Philippines (30%).
But the Philippines has the strongest direct business with more than one-in-three bookings coming to the hotel's own site, although this figure reflects the high proportion of domestic guests.
Looking ahead to the hotel of the future in Thailand, social media comes out top of the list which ranks the importance of tech investments with 78%, followed by the hotel's own website which gets 69%.
Hotels in Thailand are also committed to using tech to improve the check-in and check-out process, with the check-in process seen as a slightly higher priority than check-out. In-room entertainment is another area of importance.
The sample identifies is the importance of Chinese guests to Thailand, with the research stressing that hoteliers need to make sure that their tech and digital roadmap factors in the preferences and channels of the Chinese visitor. In 2015, Asian visitors accounted nearly two in five guests, with China sending the bulk of these. European accounted for one in five visitors to Thailand.
Independent travelers comprise half the visitors, with the study referencing a Tourism Authority of Thailand report suggesting that independent Chinese tourists will be a big growth area for Thailand.
Click here to read the press release, which includes a link to the full report.
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Booking.com affiliate VNTrip scores $3 million funding round (July 2016)
Online travel in Southeast Asia primed for long-term growth (May 2016)
Myanmar OTA grabs attention of World Bank Group investment arm (May 2016)
NB Image from the Tourism Authority of Thailand media library.