Expedia Group, the world’s largest online travel company that includes Expedia.com, AirAsiaGo, Hotels.com and other travel brands, has released its 2017 data revealing trends in hotel demand and how these insights resonate with Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s “Open to the New Shades of Thailand” campaign.
After the successful Amazing Thailand campaign in 2017, TAT’s new campaign positions Thailand as a destination that offers arts, culture, beaches, nature and gastronomy.
Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn, director of Expedia, said: “Hoteliers can effectively reap the benefits of this new campaign by aligning their properties with one or more of its themes. When linked with relevant analytics and coupled with the appropriate outreach, such as Expedia Group’s package offerings, hotel partners can effectively target new markets and find travellers who may potentially be more interested in their hotel due to a match in what they are looking for and what the hotel has to offer.”
Expedia says from 675 million monthly website visits across the globe it learned that Chiang Rai and Sukhothai recorded healthy growth of over 50 per cent year on year in inbound demand.
Chiang Rai recorded an outstanding 80 per cent growth thanks to hill tribes and their distinctive customs that make for an intriguing cultural mix. Chiang Mai, on the other hand, experienced healthy growth of 30 per cent.
While Asian travellers seem more interested in experiencing Thai customs, European travellers from France, Germany and United Kingdom showed greater interest in exploring Thailand’s historical ruins.
Package bookings drove higher average daily rates in beach destinations while Khao Yai National Park registered three-digit growth.
The top five most visited beach destinations for international travellers remained the same as 2016, with Pattaya leading the pack with year on year growth at 40 per cent followed by Phuket and Hua Hin with its modest growth of 20 per cent. On the other hand, Koh Samui and Krabi recorded relatively slower growth at around 10 per cent.
While nearly seven in 10 bookings to Thailand comprise of one or more beach destinations, international visitors are also venturing beyond the beaten path. Destinations such as Koh Chang and Koh Lipe both recorded a healthy 30 per cent growth.
Khao Yai National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site teeming with wildlife and primeval jungles, recorded growth of 160 per cent year on year. Over half of these visitors are from South East Asia with Singapore accounting for nearly 40 per cent of Khao Yai’s international visitors.
Bangkok attracted the attention of foodies worldwide when it was named the world's top street food city. Michelin then launched its first edition of the Michelin Guide Bangkok, featuring 98 restaurants.
While Japanese travellers place the highest importance on food, Australians ranked food as the second most important factor influencing their choice of travel destination, according to Asia-Pacific Travel Trends research.
“We have seen a growing interest for our fine-dining restaurants from international guests who stay at our hotel. At the same time, over the last year, we have been receiving more enquiries from travellers requesting restaurant recommendations nearby our hotel that offer exquisite cuisine,” said Gary Tay of the Peninsula Bangkok Hotel. “Interestingly, most of these enquiries were from Japanese, Hong Kong and Singaporean travellers. Unlike decades ago where Asian travellers were shy from indulging in fine cuisine, Asian travellers have become the gourmet experts.”