Hotel price cuts spurred by economy

Hotel price cuts spurred by economy

Top-brand hotels along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok are already cutting rates as low season starts to cut occupancy rates below 80%. (Photo Courtesy of Skyscanner)
Top-brand hotels along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok are already cutting rates as low season starts to cut occupancy rates below 80%. (Photo Courtesy of Skyscanner)

The current economic downturn has pushed Thai people to tighten their belts, with a number of big hotel chains feeling the pinch and offering big discounts on rooms to stay afloat.

The hotels are competing to draw more guests during the low season, which starts next month.

Centara Hotels & Resorts is offering a 50% discount to attract clients who make a reservation at its hotels in Thailand by April 30. The condition is that guests can only stay during weekdays. The offer ends Sept 30.

Thirayuth Chirathivat, chief executive of Centara Hotels & Resorts, said the campaign is a means of efficiently managing inventory during the low season.

Centara set its hotel revenue growth at 10% or 10.03 billion baht this year.

"Aggressive marketing and promotional campaigns will be carried out throughout the year to meet our revenue target," Mr Thirayuth said.

The Thai hotel chain expects occupancy rates during the low season to be stable, but with lower room rates.

Centara's projection is in line with that of S Group, a local hotelier.

S Group has revised down its 2016 revenue growth to 8% from 15% earlier because the low season has come on more quickly than expected. Normally, the low season starts in May.

Managing director Sarun Limsawaddiwong said bookings have slowed down since the end of March. Its survey found that hotels in Bangkok's Sukhumvit area have seen their occupancy rates in April fall by 10% compared with March.

The economic slowdown has caused a decline in European and American tourists, he said.

The group hopes to keep the average occupancy rate at its five hotels in Bangkok at 80%, although the average room rate will drop.

Accor, the French hotel group, is offering customers, particularly members of its loyalty programmes special offers and promotions to generate business. Its membership is 25.7 million worldwide, including 380,000 people in Thailand.

Valerie Marina Barrios, director of loyalty and communications for AccorHotels Upper Southeast and Northeast Asia, said a private promotion is offering Accor Plus members a 50% discount. Le Club AccorHotels for its part is offering members and customers subscribing to the group's email a 40% discount.

The deal, available worldwide, is limited to bookings between April 19 to 29 for stays from May 13 to July 31 this year.

Onyx Hospitality Group, another local hotel chain, has launched a "buy 1 get 1 free" campaign for guests who book rooms at one of its 30 hotels in six countries, including Thailand, from April 22-24. The promotion covers stays between April 23 and Nov 30 this year.

Apart from hoteliers, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will organise the Weekday Tourism Mart 2016, which will be held from May 12-15 at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. It hopes that the event will stimulate travel demand during the low season.

During the four-day event, TAT said 400 tourism operators will offer special discounts ranging from 30 to 50% for those who buy vouchers to stay during weekdays.

The event is projected to attract 200,000 visitors and generate revenue of 220 million baht.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supason said the authority had set its domestic tourism revenue target at 900 billion baht for 2016, up from 790 billion baht last year.

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