Hotels in Bangkok: Tourism and protests – some answers

What are hotels doing in the face of ongoing street protests in Bangkok?
The political turmoil in Bangkok has sent room occupancies in the city on a nosedive, but hotel operators have devised various ways to soften the impact creating opportunity out of crisis.

•Chris Bailey, senior vice president for sales & marketing at Centara Hotels & Resorts, said in a recent interview in TTG that many MICE events postponed and leisure booking cancelled but noted: “Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao actually sees much better figures (perhaps due to) its location slightly outside the city and also corporate clients who continue business as usual.”

•Dusit Thani Bangkok’s general manager, James Wilson, also shared that month-to-date occupancy has dipped 40 per cent from last year. “We do have one large international group in house at present and some small overseas groups arriving throughout the week, as well as FIT bookings. Our corporate accounts are still booking, although in reduced numbers,” he said. Dusit Thani Bangkok is receiving more lunch business from local offices, including “marginal business from rally-goers”, Wilson revealed.

•Debrah Pascoe, Onyx Hospitality Group’s senior vice president sales and marketing, commented that while occupancy is lower than usual for this time of the year, the hotel is not lowering rates. “Optimistically, our properties in resort locations are so far unaffected and a number of them are picking up last-minute bookings from guests diverting their travel from Bangkok, especially those within driving distance from the capital, namely Pattaya, Hua Hin and Koh Chang,” she added.

•Hotels located near the demonstration sites have rolled out discounts targeting local residents. Centara Hotels & Resorts has launched a Bangkok Shutdown package across its five Bangkok properties for this week, while Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21 has a Thai Resident Special.

•“This (Bangkok Shutdown) promotion is not generating a huge volume increase, as most rally-goers still prefer to go home. However, we’re seeing more rally-goers coming for meals and spa treatments for breaks or relaxation, particularly at Centara Grand,” Centara Hotels & Resorts reported.

•Same-day booking app HotelQuickly appears to be an unexpected winner amid the crisis, recording a surge in bookings in Bangkok. Said COO Christian Mischler: “New member sign-ups in Thailand have more than tripled over the past few days; members using their phones in Thai language have increased dramatically since (last) weekend.”