ASQ facilities eyeing hybrid format
Alternative state quarantine (ASQ) hotels want to transform into hybrid facilities during the second half of this year as the reopening plan under Phuket sandbox starts to affect bookings.
Prin Pathanatham, president of ASQ-ALQ Club Thailand, said demand at ASQ hotels has been decreasing since May after Phuket and other provinces required a negative Covid-19 test result from unvaccinated visitors.
The average occupancy for ASQ hotels in May dropped to 30-35% from 45-50% in April, while most of them have hardly seen any forward bookings after June 15 because people are tending to wait for quarantine-free entry to Phuket.
He said ASQ hotels are still hosting guests who are unvaccinated foreigners, corporate travellers or those who have just completed their vaccinations less than 14 days prior to their stay but still need to make an urgent visit.
"Revenue in the second half of this year will likely plunge once the reopening plan moves forward," Mr Prin said. "ASQ operators have to monitor the situation and re-evaluate their business models."
In the last quarter, hotels will opt for the hybrid model, providing split operations by buildings or floors between quarantine services and regular services such as meetings or banquets. They will not focus on room sales because Bangkok is still suffering from a lack of international arrivals.
Mr Prin said there are 5-10% ASQ hotels currently operating as hybrid hotels, but the performance will largely depend on local sentiment toward this kind of mixed service facility.
The club submitted a request to the government asking for a vaccination programme for 12,000 hotel staff from 147 ASQ hotels in Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani, after the first batch of 10,000 vaccines arrived in May.
The government ought to impose a quarantine period for vaccinated visitors in ASQ at the same level as Phuket to maintain the number of guests, said Nattakorn Arunanondchai, managing director of Siam Mandarina Hotel, one of the ASQ facilities.
Moreover, a quarantine reduction to seven or 10 days under the ASQ programme has proven to be effective in containing the spread.
Meanwhile, Thienprasit Chaiyapatranun, vice-president of the Thai Hotels Association, said the quarantine system via State Quarantine (SQ) and ASQ hotels must be prolonged for at least a year as the country is far behind the herd immunity goal.
He said SQ hotels help serve Thai returnees who cannot pay for ASQ or for return trips to Phuket.