Hotels see opportunity in becoming quarantine sites
Hotels are competing for a new revenue source by becoming alternative state quarantine (ASQ) sites, following the government's announcement that investors and business people will be allowed into the country but subject to a 14-day quarantine.
Most of those joining the queue are five-star hotels in Bangkok, the major destination for the first batch of foreign visitors.
Daniel Simon, general manager of Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel, said his hotel attained ASQ status and is promoting the property internationally through partners such as hospitals, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai embassies around the globe.
Mr Simon said ASQ room reservations are sluggish because of the limited amount of people permitted to enter Thailand. He expects a substantial upturn as the government outlines quarantine policies, procedures and subsequent opening of the borders and resumption of international commercial flights.
Of its 354 rooms, the hotel will offer 18 rooms for 15-day ASQ packages priced at 92,000-144,000 baht.
To be recognised as an ASQ facility, hotels have to partner with a corporate hospital to arrange additional coronavirus testing and implement other hygiene standards.
Mr Simon said his hotel is partnering with Bumrungrad International Hospital, which will provide a screening test conducted at the hotel and around-the-clock on-site certified medical staff for any health-related needs during a half-month stay.
"While hotels are closed temporarily for one month, we will use this opportunity to apply and prepare ourselves as an ASQ facility instead," said Nattakorn Arunanondchai, managing director of Siam Mandarina Hotel.
He said just 11 hotels nationwide have qualified as ASQ facilities, meaning competition remains low.
Siam Mandarina will target Thai citizens returning from foreign countries. Many Thais remain stranded overseas and have requested seats on repatriation flights.
If Thailand reopens its borders to international tourists, there will be more opportunity for the business, Mr Nattakorn said.
The average daily rate for this group is about 3,000 baht. The price is higher than pre-pandemic prices because of the additional cost of medical services.
To provide medical personnel at all times with its corporate hospital, Chularat 9 Airport Hospital, costs an extra 30-50%, Mr Nattakorn said.
Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, executive vice-president of Sukosol Hotels, said hotels must carefully consider the consequences of providing ASQ accommodation, which could shape perceptions of a hotel's image in the long run.