Digital and Mobile: Todays Opportunities for Thai Hoteliers How Expedia group is helping Thai hoteliers stay ahead of the technology curve

Travel and Lifestyle Press Releases Monday May 22, 2017 15:17
Bangkok--22 May--Total Quality PR

Modern technology and today's hyper-connected society have revolutionized the tourism industry. The ever-increasing use of smartphones, tablets and laptops to book travel, combined with the significant tightening of booking windows and the rise of last-minute bookings represents either a blessing or a curse for hoteliers, depending on how they choose to tap into the tech-driven transformation of the industry.

Savvy hoteliers can now both prosper and thrive in today's competitive landscape utilizing powerful technology to effectively capture last minute reservations, engage with their hotel guests and discover opportunities to provide better service, thereby driving higher guest satisfaction and increasing loyalty. A strong digital and mobile strategy is essential to providing the flexibility and responsiveness that guests increasingly expect in today's travel market.

Mobile is not a niche channel anymore, it is used at every stage of the travel process from inspiration, research, and booking. Not having a mobile or digital strategy is no longer a viable option for hoteliers.

In response to these developments, the Expedia group, the world's largest online travel company, created Expedia® PartnerCentral (EPC). The platform offers a destination for hotels to manage their availability, rates, offers and property content, while providing real-time, critical data and valuable market insights keeping hotel partners informed and competitive.

ENGAGED GUESTS CAN HELP BOOST BOTTOM LINE

It will come as no surprise to Thai hoteliers that highly engaged guests are likely to boost the hotel's bottom line. For example, a US-based Gallup study* indicated on average that engaged guests spend $588 (approximately THB 20,580) per stay, versus $457 (approximately THB 15,995) per stay per average guest and $403(approximately THB 14,105) per stay per disengaged guest. There is a demonstrable benefit to ensuring guests are engaged with the hotel from the moment they check in.

Expedia's PartnerCentral App supports guest engagement and helps capture insight through Real-time Feedback (RTF). How it works is simple; after guests have checked-in, they receive three short questions from the hotel partner: "How was your check in?"; "How is your room?" and "Are you happy with the location?" Guests answer through a simple, intuitive interface, and hoteliers can read and respond instantly to their feedback; keeping their needs top-of-mind to the hotel. This simple but powerful form of contact allows hoteliers to instantly open a line

*Source: GALLUP, Nov 2014, per stay at the hotel they visited most frequently in the past 12 month
of dialogue with the guest, and tools like EPC can therefore help hoteliers avoid a bad review before it gets posted online.

The Expedia PartnerCentral app, available in both iOS and Android, furthers this direct, rapid connection allowing hoteliers to access data and react quickly with an efficient single login and the ability to use their own smartphones, so they can focus on their main priority, the hotel guest.

Suchart Ketnuam, General Manager at Ambassador Bangkok Hotel said, "Keeping guests engaged is paramount to a hotelier's success, and we have benefitted hugely from the EPC tool. Now with EPC mobile app, I can do everything even when I am out of the office - from generating a performance overview of my property to developing a very well-created promotion, and even monitoring real-time feedback from our in-house guests."

THAILAND'S MOBILE DEMAND GROWTH

International travelers including Thais are embracing the Internet and mobile devices to shop and purchase travel products. Consumers are foregoing PCs and going directly to mobile. What this means for hoteliers is the opportunity to target the last-minute, spontaneous shoppers who are often searching on mobile devices to find a hotel that fits their needs and budget. EPC's 'Sell Tonight' feature is very relevant for Thailand as it enables hoteliers to target spontaneous international shoppers effectively.

Data from the Expedia group shows consumers who are booking Thai hotels for their travels via mobile devices is on the rise. In particular, travelers from United States, Hong Kong, Japan, United Kingdom and Australia are the ones leading the mobile trend. Of interest is the surge of mobile demand from South Korean travelers who demonstrated a notable growth of 80% in 2016 compared to previous year. Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya are the top performing destinations that generated the most mobile demand, jointly representing nearly 70% of all mobile demand for the country in 2016**.

The importance of mobile demand cannot be understated. In 2016, over 45% of traffic to Expedia sites arrived2 via mobile devices and 3nearly one in three transactions from Expedia group travellers were booked via mobile devices. As of Dec 2016, there was more than 180 million cumulative app downloads1 for all of Expedia group brands.

**Based on internal 2016 Expedia group data
1 Cumulative app downloads as of 12/31/16 for all Expedia, Inc. brands
2 Mobile traffic stat based on Brand Expedia, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Wotif, and HomeAway mobile traffic in Q4 2016
3 Based on Expedia, Inc. transactions in 2016.

"Hotels who do not have some form of presence on mobile devices are losing the opportunity to engage with today's highly tech savvy travelers. Our mobile transactions via the Expedia group have increased by 140 % year-on-year and majority of our mobile transactions are generated from the mobile apps/sites of Expedia.com®, Hotels.com®." said Ms Krittamon Buasri, General Manager at GLOW Pratunam.

"The road ahead is full of opportunities for Thai hoteliers. We are constantly investing in digital tools to provide partners with insights to enable them to make data-driven decisions and deliver a better experience for their guests in real-time. Ultimately, our purpose is to help them achieve their goals of revenue optimization and delighting their guests," said Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn, director of market management at Expedia group.


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