With the accommodation sector heavily impacted by COVID-19, hotels in Thailand have been looking to alternative income-generating strategies and initiatives to help them through the ongoing pandemic – some of which may become regular revenue streams in the long run.
While the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has provided support such as in its organizing of promotional campaigns like the ‘Expat Travel Bonus’ and ‘Expat Travel Bonus, the Healthy Journey’ in 2020 that aimed to help boost sales, hotels have introduced creative ways to add new revenue channels to traditional room, food and beverage and meetings/events operations.
Hotels that remain in operation consistently post, often on a daily basis, Facebook updates promoting room deals, food and beverage offerings, staycations, and other specials that target Thai domestic travelers or expats based in the Thai capital or around the country.
The following chain or standalone hotel offerings are referenced as examples of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or new revenue management best practices; however, these mentions are not meant as promotional or commercial endorsements.
With many businesses closing their corporate offices and having teams work remotely, some hotels have started to offer work-from-hotel day-use packages at exceptional rates for people looking for stress relief away from the crowded family home. Many hotels offer spacious and quiet working arrangements close to home that soften the daily routine that has been thrown into disarray by COVID-19.
With the fast-changing situation continuing to evolve, regular checks can offer advantages to the savvy traveler or overworked tech employee in search of a solution during COVID-19.
Work-from-hotel packages are another revenue-generating initiative being used by properties, like the Carlton Hotel Bangkok Sukhumvit with its Workcation package that includes use of a guestroom from 09.00 -19.00 Hrs. along with lunch and coffee/tea plus food and beverage discounts.
Leading hotel chain Centara Hotels & Resorts, for example, now offers a choice of Thai and Western dishes where consumers can order from selected member properties (available between 07.00 – 19.30 Hrs) via food delivery platforms; such as, LINE MAN, Grab Food, or Foodpanda.
Dusit International took its food delivery service up a little further, adding a COVID-19 CSR relief initiative to its ‘Food for Heroes’ option by which customers can also purchase meals for delivery to doctors, nurses, and other essential workers in the city. The freshly cooked meals can be delivered to a hospital, temple, or government office of the customer’s choice in Bangkok (within a certain radius), daily from 10.00-20.00 Hrs.
Dusit is also targeting niche markets in new ways. For customers with furry friends, it offers a two-night ‘staycation’. While pets are happily ensconced at Bangkok’s Thonglor Pet Hospital, owners get a respite from the responsibility of pet ownership while enjoying a Bangkok getaway.
As the hospitality industry continues to bear the brunt of the current economic environment, hotel owners and operators are looking for creative ways not only to offset their basic operating costs, but to also make positive private-public sector contributions to the government’s COVID-19 containment and recovery efforts.
Some of these alternative income-generating strategies are still being refined by trial-and-error but appear to be doing their intended purpose of creating new revenue streams for the long run that may continue to exist in some form well after the current pandemic.
Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) status has certainly helped throw some hotel owners another revenue lifeline. More than 120 hotels in Bangkok, the primary international entry point to Thailand, have signed on as ASQ hotels, where people arriving in the country can stay for the mandatory two-week quarantine period against COVID-19. They offer packages that are typically for single accommodation and include one-way airport transfer, accommodation for 15 nights, three daily meals, twice-daily temperature checks with a nurse on 24-hour standby, plus 2 or 3 COVID-19 tests depending on current government requirements.
In other destinations like Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai, some properties have also opted to be Alternative Local Quarantine (ALQ) hotels, providing another channel to generate revenue.
Hotels have to pass the Ministry of Public Health requirements to become ASQ/ALQ. Among platforms for booking these properties are asq.ascendtravel.com and asq.locanation.com, with both offering customized packages and are also great reference tools for all requirements needed to gain entry into the kingdom. (TAT)