Booking.com, one of the world's largest online reservation websites, yesterday opened its customer service centre in Bangkok to serve Thai customers, whose accommodation bookings via the site have doubled in the past few years.
Oliver Hua, Booking.com's managing director for Asia-Pacific, said the top five destinations for Thais using Booking.com in the past few years were Japan, Italy, Spain, Myanmar and Cambodia.
The opening of Bangkok's customer service centre at G Tower on Rama IX Road will benefit Thai customers the most, followed by Chinese tourists, expats living in Bangkok and tourists from nearby countries.
"We decided to open this contact centre in Bangkok because demand for Thai language support from customers and partners grew significantly," Mr Hua said.
He said the latest customer service centre is designed to enhance the quality of employees' work life, boost their performance and stimulate creativity and collaboration among staff at Booking.com.
This year, Booking.com in Thailand will focus on investing to create customer engagement and partnering with outstanding accommodation owners and operators.
Mr Hua did not disclose the 2017 investment budget. He did, however, say that online travel agency (OTA) services remain popular globally despite the many moves by hotels to reduce their exposure to OTA and the high commission fees charged.
"Many hotels and accommodation operators still want to have a high occupancy rate, and OTA service is the best choice to drive occupancy rates," Mr Hua said.
He said 35% of Booking.com customers make reservations via mobile phone, while the rest use a PC to book their accommodation.
The share of tourists booking accommodation via mobile phone is expected to rise in the coming years, to as high as 50%, because "it's the most convenient way", Mr Hua said.
He voiced confidence that hotel room rates on Booking.com would stay competitive when compared with other online reservation websites. The average commission fee for the site is 15%.
Booking.com's success lies not only in reasonable prices, but also in everyday and round-the-clock customer service to satisfy both tourists and hotel partners.
Booking.com has offices in Bangkok and in major provinces such as Chiang Mai, Phuket and Surat Thani (Koh Samui).