Connect with us

Property

Island Fever: Lost and found in Eden

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET: As many jaded expats living in Thailand for any length of time know, the search for enduring values in a littered landscape is often a bottomless pit. Perhaps it was that herd of stampeding elephants which obliterated those rose-colored glasses. In the heat of a sunny tropical landscape, blindness is inevitable. In some ways, it might even be comforting to live in a black box. Where is the love, understanding and a return to simplicity?

Let’s turn our focus for a moment to loyalty, which for all its faults remains an admirable human quality and one that Wall Street long ago tapped into as a business tool. It’s very simple math, when you reduce the cost of customer acquisition and have them returning time and time again. This recurring magic wand of a revenue stream is pure magic.

Major hotel chains have for years tapped into the concept, with incentive programs such as Marriott Rewards, Hilton Honor, Starwood Preferred Guest or InterContinental Rewards. For anyone who saw the Hollywood film Up in the Air, who can forget that scene when two frequent travellers play show and tell with their mass of loyalty cards.

For hotel groups, the ability to lure corporate guests with rewards enticements, so that they pay premium rates when the company is footing the bill, is as tempting as the snake offering Eve the apple in the Garden of Eden.

But we do live in a changing world and the skyrocketing travel landscape of online travel agents (OTAs) and TripAdvisor are changing hotel booking patterns. Be it Agoda, Expedia or Hotels.com, choices are only increasing and attracting more users each day in the search for values that do not focus on a single brand or offer.

We continue to evolve in the long-tail of choice, where there is engagement rather than pure selling and users are no longer content to be at the mercy of a hotels marketing department, but they want to search our deals, new hotels and destinations. Niche, lifestyle and personalization are at the crux of the matter.

For large-scale hotel groups, one of their key selling points to attract developers into signing those lucrative management agreements is the perceived ability to outperform the independent hotels and obtain higher rates and occupancy. Call it scale or what not, but in most – but not all – cases, the function does work.

Yet the hospitality sector is not one that is rampant with innovation. You have to look at the four walls and programmed check-in and out welcome drink experience that has not changed for decades. Perhaps the overriding concept is: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

But times are changing. OTAs are now looking at loyalty programs of their own that are not limited to their own hotels or brands. The world is indeed the traveller’s oyster, and now more than ever the third-party booking avenues are taking on increased market share.

You have to wonder if hotel loyalty programs in the coming decade will become obsolete, just like the DVD or landline telephone. How will hotel groups who want to contain loyalty deal with these OTA interlopers? Eventually one has to view what value there is for a large brand if they can only offer reduced commissions for OTAs and not deliver the business.

Certainly there are other merits of hotel chains in terms of systems, processes and scale, but the revenue side, which drives the business, is going into unknown territory and it remains unclear who the winner and losers will be. Customer choice reigns supreme, and frankly speaking the next switch from web-based systems to mobile is inevitable and only a heartbeat away. The real question is where does loyalty belong in 2020 and who can capture the market? Hotels, OTAs or maybe even Google?

— Bill Barnett

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand23 mins ago

Ministry of Defence orders another Airbus C295 for the Royal Thai Army

Hong Kong36 mins ago

Hong Kong may reduce quarantine for vaccinated residents returning from Singapore, UK

Thailand37 mins ago

Crocodiles escape from farm in Trat

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Protests1 hour ago

Bangkok police prepare for pro-democracy rallies on Thursday

Phuket1 hour ago

Restrictions loosen in Phuket, alcohol allowed in restaurants

Tourism2 hours ago

TAT thinking up ways quarantine might be relaxed for tourists returning from Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 4,059 new cases and 35 deaths

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Third vaccine shot may be necessary to combat Delta variant

South2 hours ago

South hit by 402 cases of Beta variant

Coronavirus (Covid-19)17 hours ago

AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines to be donated to Thailand from Japan

Bangkok17 hours ago

Bangkok police warn that protests planned for Thursday break the Emergency Decree

Thailand18 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Hotel occupancy, Phuket beaches hit with tar balls, doctor ‘warning’ | June 21

Thailand18 hours ago

Pattaya residents complain of sinkholes in road, couple sustains injuries

Insurgency18 hours ago

2 suspected insurgents killed in gunfire exchange with police-military team

Best of18 hours ago

Top 8 Things to do in Hua Hin

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending