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Phuket Property: Thai hotels benefit from local software

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Property: Thai hotels benefit from local software | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: About 1,000 member hotels of the Thai Hotel Association (THA) are benefiting from a locally developed room reservation technology that is changing the way hotels in Thailand do business online, keeping them ahead of the game in the
global hospitality industry.

The new ‘Software as a Service’ for independent hotels is the result of a recently formed exclusive partnership between THA and Phuket-based hospitality IT specialist Wide Discovery Co Ltd. The service will provide direct online room reservations, which allows member hotels to accept online bookings directly through THA websites, thaihotels.org and thaihoteldeal.com.

This innovation is seen as a massive boost for independent hotels in an industry that has been dominated by online travel agents (OTAs), which can demand high discounts and commissions for group bookings collated through popular travel websites.

Wide Discovery Managing Director Parkphoom Thamperakul said their software as a service offers more flexibility for guests booking online as well as boosting profits for independent hoteliers.

“There is a growing global trend toward direct online bookings in the hospitality industry, rather than hotels solely relying on OTAs, because it offers more choices for guests and fewer losses for hoteliers,” he said.

Our direct booking system also gives independent hotels more control over marketing strategies and room reservations by putting them in direct contact with their guests.

The Kee Resort & Spa in Patong is one Phuket hotel that has benefited from using Wide Discovery’s online booking system, since it opened almost three years ago.

“We began using the booking system through our website about six months before the hotel opened, in the last quarter of 2010. We have seen a 30 per cent increase in direct bookings, which gives our guests more flexibility and choices, as well as reducing the commissions paid to third parties,” said Executive Director Tanapong Somnam.

“Our guests get more value and flexibility, with more choice of promotions and privileges, as well as a guaranteed room reservation. For us, the system means more flexibility. We can control room allotments more easily, get better feedback from our guests, and are able to pay much lower booking fees,” said Mr Somnam.

According to research by Forrester, air tickets account for the largest share of the online travel booking market, closely followed by hotel bookings, car rental, cruises and tours.

The ratio of car rentals (11 per cent), cruises and tours (1 per cent) has remained stable since 2008. However, online air ticket sales have taken a dip from 59 to 55 per cent while hotel bookings are expected to rise from 28 per cent to 32 per cent in 2014.

For more information, visit: widediscovery.com.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January

Maya Taylor

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Vietjet

Passenger numbers on domestic flights within Thailand have doubled within a month, rising from 4,000 in January to over 10,000 this month. Having nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel plummeted once more when Covid-19 resurfaced late last year.

Apirat Chaiwongnoi from the Department of Airports says 15 of Thailand’s 29 airports are now operating domestic flights, with more expected to follow. He believes the aviation sector will continue to recover further in the coming 6 months, bolstered by the national vaccine rollout.

Around 120 domestic flights a day are now operating, which is twice the number that were operating at the lowest point in the crisis. Prior to the resurgence of the virus in December, domestic passenger numbers had recovered to 30,000 – 40,000 a day, around 80% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The DoA says airports must continue to adhere to the Covid-19 hygiene measures put in place by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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