The Tourism industry has faced many threats and challenges over the last 20 years and managed to survive. Examples include: SARS in 2003, The Indonesia Tsunami in 2004 and the Global Financial Meltdown in 2008.
As resilient as it is – there’s never been a greater challenge to deal with then the Corona Virus pandemic. With international boarders closed and no end in sight, the situation remains uncertain.
Hospitality and Tourism are a big part of the economy and is important to GDP, providing countless jobs and tax revenue. Before Corona Virus hit, the sector represented about 18 % of GDP with 38 milliom international arrivals.
With so much at stake – something needed to be done to safeguard the important role of Hospitality and Tourism. Lately, (in July) the government focused attention on promoting domestic tourism by offering the public travel subsidy, which is the best hope to shore-up losses attributed to International tourism arrivals. Just an example, in 2019 tourism receipts by domestic travel amounted to approximately 167 million baht and whilst not a game changer (by any means) does provide some relief and scope growth whilst the country remains in lockdown.
So thankfully, the life-line is welcomed relief. The travel subsidy (discussed below), should make domestic travel and hotel accommodation cheap and accessible to all. It’s hoped the subsidy will incentivize people to travel and explore local destinations.
The government sponsored “Rao Pai Teo Dua Kan” promotion, announced in July, allocated 18 billion Baht to fund subsidies for accommodation and restaurants at destinations nationwide. The money will benefit 25,000 hotels and 37,000 restaurants and related businesses, boosting revenue and creating jobs for hospitality workers.
What’s offered - a total of five million room nights (accommodation) for domestic tourism. The subsidy, will cover up to 40% the value of hotel accommodation limited to 3,000 Baht per night for up to five nights* (in the 1st phase of the campaign). The promotion will also include a subsidy for F & B (and attractions) which will be capped at 600 Baht per night for up to five nights, limited to 40% of the actual amount paid.
Meanwhile, another two million Baht (in subsidy) was allocated to “Teo Pan Suk”. This promotion is designed to run concurrently with "Rao Pai Teo Dua Kan” to help offset the cost of domestic air fares - hopefully stimulating two million domestic trips. The subsidy will cover 40% the cost for a domestic airfare - capped at 1,000 Baht per tourist* (in the 1st phase of the program)
Domestic travelers interested in claiming the subsidy for either of these programs, have to register their interedt through the official website, using an application wallet named “Pao Tung (Wallet)”. All rebates under the promtion will be available until the quota is used up.
In the new normal today – most travelers are moving away from the booking “nightmares” caused by Corona Virus, by going direct to the hotel in lieu of 3rd party agents. Basically, Corona Virus is giving a new lease of life to the hotel’s direct sales platform.
Taking full advantage of the evolving preference to go direct, is the Government’s travel subsidy – pitched squarely at the hotels’ direct sales platform.
In order for hotels to be a part of the campaign, they need to join by registering (at the campign website) so travelers can access the government subsidy. The hotel would then need to make sure it has the right tools– such as a Direct Booking Engine that can process payments through the government sponsored bank, according promotion guidelines, allowing travelers to book direct with their choice hotel. (more on this below)
When Corona Virus emerged – the travel industry went into chaos.
Most travelers with OTA bookings (already made) found it difficult and problematic to manage holiday bookings - especially if booked through 3rd party websites like: Agoda / Bookings dot Com or Expedia. For example, cancellations and amendments – had to go through the OTA, and it often took a bit longer to get things done, with some travelers even thinking they could lose their booking altogether.
In the early days of the pandemic, most OTA’s were slammed with cancellation and amendment requests. The onslaught of requests meant that most agencies were forced to ask travelers to wait until just before their trip to call-in and change bookings, which unfortunately led to uncertainty and a loss of confidence in using agent platforms.
Travelers with booked accommodation endured horrible customer experiences as they tried to cancel for a full refund or get some form of credit. These experiences and sentiments have left a bad impressions and is impacting new and future bookings (in the Corona Virus world we’re living in)
Now that we have been living with Corona Virus for the last 6 months - the “new normal” is seeing hotel direct booking platforms become popular for travelers. Let’s face it, booking direct at the hotel offers the added level of trust and confidence, compared to the uncertainty of going through a 3rd party. And importantly - that’s why the Government Sponsored Promotion is so highly targeted.
For hotels, the case for joining the government sponsored campaign seems clear.
Not only because travelers are now more inclined to go direct (which we talked about earlier) but also because hotel get instant access to “the pool” of Domestic Travelers signing up to the Government subsidy.
Having launched in July – “Rao Pai Teio Dua Kan” is proving attractive for hotels, and more so now with talk that it could be extended beyond the October deadline and into the all-important “End of Year” Holiday Season.
One of the reasons for the extension, is because of the economic fall-out of Covid-19 and its impact on spending power, with businesses having to introduce temporary lay-offs, meaning FIT and group bookings are being postponed or even cancelled until later.
The government subsidy is now also expected to broaden the scope of eligibility to include companies – enabling them to make discounted hotel bookings, which can be used for business purposes or offered to employees (as incentives) or even to business partners.
Most importantly, to help the promotion become more attractive - it’s being proposed that the maximum length of stays will increase from 5 nights to 10 - while the air travel subsidy will increase from Baht 1,000 to Baht 2,000.
Whilst Thailand has been attracting International visitors for years, there’s never been a better time for Thai’s to explore their own back yard.
Now with the help of the Government Sponsored program – domestic travel has become less expensive and easier than ever – not to mention that Thailand remains a safe COVID free travel environment.
With this in mind, Hoteliers and Hospitality providers should consider the benefits (the program offers) especially in these challenging times.
Hoteliers Guru is proud to have be chosen under the promotion to provide Direct Booking Engine Services for Hotels wishing to join the “Rao Pai Thiao Kan” promotion “เราเที่ยวด้วยกัน”
The Hoteliers Guru, Direct Booking Engine will enable participating hotels access the special features offered under the program with direct POS payment to Krung Thai Bank.
As partner, we have established a payment gateway directly with Krung Thai Bank - so customers booking their hotel will have their bookings automatically deducted for them under the promotion guidelines.
In order to participate in the program - hotels need to first register their interest at the website here: www.เราเที่ยวด้วยกัน.com
For Hotels using a Booking Engine Platform not compatible with campaign guidelines - please consider upgrading to Hoteliers Guru Booking Engine Service.
For more information about how to connect your Hotel, please get in contact with our team:
Bangkok 419 099 8735 Phuket 070 095 7437 or by email : [email protected]