Thailand’s popular Eastern Seaboard resort destination Pattaya is on track to accommodate over 8 million hotel guests in 2012 – a record for Pattaya and the highest ever for any Thai resort destination. The sharp upturn in trading can be attributed in part to the growing Thai domestic market, which has been attracted by a vast enhancement in access and transport infrastructure.
Leading hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks recently released their Pattaya Hotel Market Update, which highlights a 9% surge in hotel occupancy last year as a clear indication of an upward cycle.
An increase in branded hotel offerings has induced greater demand with the chain-operated properties hitting 74% annualized occupancy for the year ending December. This equated to an 8% premium over the non-branded hotel inventory.
Speaking about the destination’s evolution C9’s Managing Director Bill Barnett said, “With the geographic shift away from long haul tourists to the Asian and domestic segments key demand generators such as large-scale retail, tourist attractions and a rising resort residential market has fueled positive sentiment.”
A leading example of the new Pattaya is Centara’s Grand Mirage Resort which has successfully seen their experience based theme property delivering a “no need to leave” factor for families and couples.
On the flip side Centara Hotel’s and Resorts Senior Vice-President Sales and Marketing Chris Bailey comments, “With three operating properties in Pattaya and three more in the pipeline, there are parallel opportunities in two distinct market segments.
“For those wishing for more value-driven offerings, customers want quality accommodation but not an extensive range of facilities. For them Pattaya as the destination is the main attraction.”
Looking forward through this year and into 2013, C9’s report points to the major investment into internationally affiliated theme parks in Greater Pattaya that will broaden demographics. The milestone Central Festival retail complex was the touch point of an ongoing destination extreme makeover.
With 49,348 rooms in registered tourism establishment, much of the build up came between the period of 2009 thought 2010 when supply increased 28%. This has flattened out with 1.779 keys now in the pipeline that equate to an upward swing of 4%.
One benefactor in a shifting hospitality scene is the upscale international tier with Sheraton Pattaya ranking high. Here hotel developer Aswani Bajaj of Amburaya Hotel and Resorts cites that “the increasing demand of more affluent visitors is creating a strong sustainable financial business model for the hotel.”
According to a source at the Thai listed Erawan Group who own the Holiday Inn Resort the new dynamic of Pattaya is that the city can serve both the corporate and leisure markets. Increasing investment into the nearby industrial estates and a changing perception on the back an increasing number of family holiday visits are strong positive fundamentals.
Appraising Pattaya’s DNA, Bill Barnett adds, “Comparing Pattaya to other resorts in the country such as Phuket, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui, the former has less pronounced seasonality which results in mitigating volatility. Currently supply and demand remain balanced as limited prime land availability points to a future regime of hotel redevelopment versus new build properties.”