Will Thais travel more or less?

BANGKOK, 29 September 2023: SiteMinder, a leading open hotel commerce platform, has released the 2023 edition of the world’s largest consumer research on accommodation, which reveals that 88% of Thai travellers intend to travel at least the same amount as they did over the past year, including one in two (53%) who intend to travel more. 

Additionally, the number planning to travel only internationally has nearly doubled, from 26% last year to 49% this year.

The findings are in SiteMinder’s Changing Traveller Report 2023, an analysis of more than 10,000 travellers surveyed across Thailand and 11 other countries. They form part of the four key characteristics underpinning the travel plans and motivations that will impact the global accommodation industry over the coming year.

Four key takeaways

The enduring explorer: Committed to travelling, regardless of living costs.

The digital dependent: Reliant on new technologies and bound to devices.

The memory maker: Investing in experiences in a roaring ‘20s rerun.

The conscious collaborator: An open ally to accommodation and the community.

When it comes to accommodation, despite inflation, 96% of Thai travellers globally say they are happy to spend money beyond the cost of their room. The finding is unsurprising given that almost nine in 10 local travellers say that what they need from their accommodation has changed in the last year. A ‘comfortable/inspiring work environment’ is what Thai travellers today want most – a finding that correlates to 57% intending to work during their next trip. While that figure has dropped marginally from 65% last year, Thai travellers are the second most likely to work on their next trip, behind only Indian travellers.

At a global level, accommodation is being sought out as a destination unto itself, with one in two travellers—notably international travellers—looking to spend either ‘most of the time’ or ‘considerable time’ at their accommodation on their next trip. At 77%, this trend is even higher among Thais.

SiteMinder’s regional vice president of Asia, Bradley Haines, says the research affirms the health of Thailand’s travel sector and the critical role played by accommodation providers.

“Contrary to recent years, we are seeing a stronger intent among Thai travellers to travel internationally only and spend money, even amid inflationary pressures,” says Haines. “Additionally, we are seeing accommodation providers play a more pivotal role than ever before. For 77% of local travellers, the accommodation will serve as the destination.”

While almost 77% of Thai travellers will be tolerant of accommodation providers having lower service standards in light of staff shortages, a fundamental finding from SiteMinder’s Changing Traveller Report 2023 is that the accommodation sector is perceived to be lagging other industries from a technology standpoint. Over 60% of locals think the accommodation industry is either average or behind in technology adoption, while a remarkable 95% agree that their booking experience and stay could be better if accommodation businesses were more tech-savvy.

SiteMinder’s research has found that technology use among travellers includes:

  • AI – more than half of travellers globally, including more than two-thirds of millennials, are either likely or very likely to use AI to generate accommodation recommendations. Thai travellers are even more receptive, with 86% likely to use AI to generate accommodation recommendations.
  • Social media – 70% of travellers globally, including 9-in-10 Generation Zers, say social media influences how they discover their accommodation. In Thailand, social media’s influence is even stronger at 25% above the global average, putting Thai travellers second only to Indonesian travellers when it comes to being influenced by social media during the accommodation discovery process.
  • Booking websites – while four in five travellers will book their accommodation online, three in five say they have not proceeded with their booking because of a bad experience. Difficult processes and websites that don’t feel secure are the top two contributors to a bad experience.

“Today’s Thai traveller is enduring, extremely digitally-dependent and conscious, with a strong desire to create memories for as long as the privilege of travelling remains available. Through our research, we now know that they perceive the accommodation industry as being behind when it comes to technology adoption, and accommodation providers should see this as an invitation to invest in modern commerce technology that allows them to best cater for current customer needs and expectations,” says Haines.


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