Remote work boon for domestic travel
The trend among local travellers of working from anywhere will continue after the outbreak, with a rise in direct hotel bookings, according to SiteMinder, a Sydney-based distribution hospitality platform provider.
Bradley Haines, regional vice-president for Asia-Pacific at SiteMinder, said hoteliers should be ready to accommodate the growing local market, who will book via direct channels, by keeping their websites updated.
High-speed internet is important for guests who work remotely, he said.
According to the "Changing Traveller Report 2021" by SiteMinder based on 851 Thais travellers surveyed in June, 51% of respondents will definitely (19.7%) or likely (31.3%) work during their upcoming trips.
Mr Haines said the ability to work from anywhere started to become embedded in corporate culture during the pandemic, allowing people to take advantage of work flexibility, combining holiday time with work.
Some 52% said they will choose direct reservations with hotels for their next trips, up 3.25 percentage points, of which 40.2% will book via hotel websites and 12.5% will phone or email.
Booking via online travel agents stood at 23.5%, a decrease of 12 percentage points from last year.
With health and safety considerations a top priority for locals, big hotel chains and resorts have become the preferred choices for tourists, rising to 27.5% from 8.34% prior to the outbreak because of trust in their safety and hygiene standards.
Respondents said their top factors when choosing a destination are vaccination and health requirements, followed by personal bucket lists as they want to fulfil their dreams by travelling to certain places in the country.
"The domestic market will continue to play an important role in Thailand's recovery, especially for the remainder of this year and next year," Mr Haines said.
Since Covid-19 restrictions were loosened on Sept 1 with a drop in new cases, hotel bookings in Thailand on Sept 5 saw a slow uptick, reaching 21% based on SiteMinder's World Hotel Index.
He said destinations near Bangkok that are popular for domestic tourism started to see more advance bookings than those faraway, as people are not confident about air travel restrictions.
The booking trend should continue to show stronger signs when restrictions are further relaxed, said Mr Haines.