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
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.