Expedia insights on Thai market

BANGKOK, 31 March 2017: Thai hoteliers should tap research and booking trends reported by online travel agencies to help them improve market share and build new business.

That’s the advice from Expedia, an online travel agency that believes its booking data would help hotels using its online booking channels to work smart.

Expedia group’s Thaiand market management director, Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn, said understanding the travel patterns of visitors will assist Thai hoteliers to better target and capture incremental demand throughout the year.

Expedia’s top 10 international markets to Thailand last year were the United States, Hong Kong, Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, Germany, Malaysia and Sweden.

Surprisingly, China is not on the list, but that is probably due to Expedia’s low penetration in the China market and the dominance of group travel from China, channelled through traditional tour companies rather than direct online bookings.

In Thailand, Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Samui island and Chiang Mai were the top five destinations for travellers booked through Expedia’s sites last year.

Expedia has a strong base in the US and sales for Thailand hotels show 75% of room night stays booked are for three to four-star properties. The top destinations for US visitors are Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai.

In 2016 visitors from Hong Kong peaked from June to September, which coincided with their summer break, while Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya topped the destinations list, with growing interest in Krabi.

Bolstered by the frequency of low-cost carriers in the region, Hong Kong showed the largest year-on-year rise in bookings with an 80% growth.

More Japanese travellers tend to visit Thailand during their summer break in the months of July to August as well as December. Similar to Hong Kong, the top three destinations for Japanese travellers are Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya.

UK traveller visit November through to March mainly to escape the bitterly cold winter in the UK and enjoy budget priced holidays.

A large majority of Australians visit Thailand during  school holidays in December and January. March, July and October were also favourite months.

UK and Australian visitors tend to book well in advance. A large majority of them (80%) book three and four star hotels.

While the top three destinations gaining popularity with Australians are Trat, Hua Hin and Pattaya, UK travellers are showing interest in Koh Lipe, Rayong and Kanchanaburi.

Pimpawee believes hotel operators should invest in online brochures.

“Hotels with high-quality photos, good reviews and accurate descriptions and location information, are the most likely to convert interest into bookings.”