Mobile bookings see a surge
Tourism in Thailand remains resilient
More and more tourists will book accommodations via their mobile phones over the next two years, according to Booking.com.
"It's a global trend," said Parichat Haehnen, the reservation website's regional manager for Thailand, Indochina and Myanmar.
"If tourists want to book accommodations, the most convenient way to do it is via their mobile phones," he said.
At Booking.com, one in every three tourists worldwide books accommodation via a mobile device. That ratio rises to half for those in a rush to travel to short-haul destinations within two days.
Mrs Parichat voiced confidence that the ratio of tourists booking accommodation via mobile phone would rise significantly in the coming years.
Consumers reserve more than 1 million room nights every 24 hours on Booking.com. The property types on offer include hotels, apartments, villas, hostels, farm stays, bungalows and boats.
Booking.com has already been used to book more than 1 billion room nights since it was founded in 1996 and boasts over 99 million reviews from guests.
The top five nationalities using Booking.com to make reservations in Thailand are from China, Russia, Germany, Switzerland and Britain.
There are 13,000 Thai accommodations listed on Booking.com, of which 2,000 have family rooms. Most Thai customers book overseas accommodation in Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and Laos.
Mrs Parichat said Thailand has a lot of potential in the Asean region, adding that the Thai tourism industry is resilient, even in the face of negative incidents.
"When Bangkok experienced the bombing at the Erawan Shrine last year, foreign tourists disappeared for two months," she said.
"After that, they came back and booked hotel rooms in Bangkok and other destinations in Thailand via our website."
Moreover, Thai people tend to travel more in the Asean region due to the relaxed visa rules in many countries, the expansion of low-cost airlines and the convenience of being able to make hotel reservations online.
Booking.com plans to open a customer service centre in Bangkok and a branch in Chiang Mai by the end of this year.
In Indochina, almost 20,000 accommodations are listed on Booking.com.
Indochina has a lot of tourism potential, particularly Vietnam, which has already waived visa fees for six European countries.
Myanmar, which has just opened up to international tourists, including Thais, offers visitors the attraction of many temples including Shwedagon Pagoda, said Mrs Parichat.