THA tells hotels to lighten up

THA tells hotels to lighten up

A beach at The Sea View Resort in Koh Chang, Trat province. The hotel has filed for defamation against an expatriate who left an unsavoury review. (Photo by Jakkrit Waewkraihong)
A beach at The Sea View Resort in Koh Chang, Trat province. The hotel has filed for defamation against an expatriate who left an unsavoury review. (Photo by Jakkrit Waewkraihong)

Hoteliers have to accept feedback, the Thai Hotels Association (THA) says with regard to the conflict involving an expatriate being sued by a resort in Koh Chang.

Although The Sea View Resort is a member of the THA, the association cannot intervene between the two parties. It can only urge them to be as honest and transparent as possible, said president Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi.

The Sea View Resort took legal action against an American guest after he left negative online reviews on Tripadvisor and Google.

"It is always important for hotels to accept feedback, whether good or bad," Mrs Marisa said.

She suggested hotel operators contact the platforms first or submit a request to remove reviews if they consider the reviews to be unfair.

Hoteliers should proactively communicate with each online reviewer carefully, including the negative ones, to maintain a good reputation and create a better understanding with guests and future tourists who read those reviews before booking, Mrs Marisa said.

"Guests have the right to speak their minds, and I encourage them to provide constructive feedback with positive intent to help hotels improve services and competitiveness," she said.

The blurred line between constructive feedback and destructive criticism is a problem for this case, which has drawn attention from social media and public opinion, Mrs Marisa said.

Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said the agency has to monitor the situation for further response from international communities. But since the case has already entered the legal process, it is beyond the scope of the agency to mediate or resolve the conflict.

"Negative feedback is relatively minor, as recently the TAT overseas offices received feedback from tourists about reopening, especially from Europe," Mr Yuthasak said. "We have to address those requests from international arrivals first."

The next process for the special tourist visa (STV) has to be authorised by the Interior Ministry and will become effective after receiving the signature of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The TAT can then provide concrete information for tourists who have expressed intent to visit Thailand and coordinate with airlines to provide chartered flights after the pandemic dies down.

Mr Yuthasak said 120 tourists from Guangzhou in China will be the first group of visitors who arrive at Phuket on Oct 8 and must undergo the 14-day quarantine in alternative local quarantine sites.

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