Disruptive technologies pose no threat to Thai hotels

WHILE disruptive technologies from the likes of Agoda and Airbnb have created headwinds for the US and western European hotels in recent years, Thailand’s hospitality industry will likely remain resilient against such threats, according to experts at the Thailand Tourism Forum (TTF) 2016.

The consensus is that Airbnb is only able to capture portions of the budget/low-end segments in Thailand, while OTAs such as Agoda, seem to compliment rather than jeopardize the old hotel business model.

Tim Hughes, vice president of business development, Agoda, said that OTAs are just another booking channel and that the hotel industry can profit from their growth. “It is a very big market. It is not a race between direct and OTA. It is not a winner takes all market. It is an opportunity for everyone,” he said.

Ben Emery, Marriott International’s South-east asia area director of revenue strategy, explained that OTAs provide a service to attract guests, but ultimately, “it is the hotel’s business to turn them into loyal customers.”

There are also differences in booking habits to consider. Anthony Green, director of digital development, Minor Hotel Group, remarked that Russians prefer direct booking over using OTAs, while the Chinese prefer the latter.

By Athip Jittarerk

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