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Top 10 Countries for Thailand tourism

KohSamuiThe Expedia group has released 2016 full-year data revealing the trends in hotel demand from international visitors to Thailand last year. Expedia revealed top 10 international markets for Thailand and top 5 destinations in Thailand.

Understanding the travel patterns of these visitors will assist Thai hoteliers to better target and capture incremental demand throughout the year by leveraging on the group’s international reach.

2016 proved to be a solid year for Expedia hotel partners in Thailand with all top ten international markets gaining double digit growth. This, coupled with the current initiatives from the Tourism Authority of Thailand to boost Thailand as a preferred destination [1], 2017 looks to be another promising year for Thai hotels.

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Top 5 destinations most popular with travelers who booked via Expedia group sites (2016)

1 Bangkok +30% year-on year growth
2 Phuket +20% year-on year growth
3 Pattaya +40% year-on year growth
4 Koh Samui +10% year-on year growth
5 Chiang Mai +20% year-on year growth

“Expedia is first and foremost a technology company operating in the travel sector.  It analyses vast amounts of data from a diverse range of travellers from more than 75 countries in 35 languages, with more than 600 million site visits per month.  It shares deep insights about traveller behaviour that can help our Thai hotel partners to optimise revenue by knowing when and where to target the right travellers at the right time with the right offer to help boost incremental demand,” said Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn, director of market management at Expedia group. 

Key traveller insights from the group’s top five international markets:

United States

US travel was consistently high throughout the entire year, providing a steady flow of valuable demand to hoteliers. Demand did spike slightly in November and December and this can be partly attributed to an array of public holidays – such as Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas – which provided Americans the ability to take advantage of calendar holidays to maximise their annual leave.

Although US visitors have the shortest booking window amongst the top five markets, they generate the highest Average Daily Rate in that 30 days booking window.

About 75% of room night stays by US travelers are for 3-4 star properties in Thailand.

While most Americans visited Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai, destinations such as Mae Hong Son (+180%), Koh Lipe (+170%) and Rayong (+90%) are gaining popularity with significant growth in year-on-year demand.

Hong Kong

Amongst the top 10 international markets, Thailand saw the highest growth from Hong Kong travellers, up by 1.5 times.

Hong Kong proved to be the most valuable market, generating the highest Average Daily Rate amongst all international travellers.

Visitors from Hong Kong peaked from June – September, which coincided with their summer break.

While top destinations included expected cities like Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya, Hong Kong travellers are showing increasing interest in Krabi with a year-on-year growth of over 35%.

Bolstered by the frequency of low cost carriers in the region, Hong Kong showed the largest year-on-year rise in package bookings at 80% growth (as compared to the top ten international markets into Thailand). Expedia’s dynamic packages are created by combining multiple products together like air, car and hotel, allowing travellers to save money. For Expedia’s hotel partners in Thailand, package bookings bring significant value. On average, Thai package bookings generate:

Japan

Hotel partners will be pleased to hear that Average Daily Rates paid by Japanese travellers was up last year.

More Japanese travellers tend to visit Thailand during their summer break in the months of July – August as well as December.

Similar to Hong Kong, the top three destinations loved by Japanese travellers were Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya.

UK and Australia

British travel to the Land of Smiles starts high in November and December. January – March were also peak months for them as they visit Thailand in search of warmer weather.

For the Australians, a large majority of them visit Thailand during the school holidays in December and January. March, July and October were also favourite months for them to visit.

Australia and UK travellers demonstrate similar traits when it comes to booking and staying at hotels in Thailand.

While the top three destinations gaining popularity with Australians are Trat (80% year-on year), Hua Hin (60%) and Pattaya (50%), the British travellers are showing rising interest in visiting Koh Lipe (140% year-on year), Rayong (100%), Kanchanaburi (90%).

Pimpawee’s advice to hoteliers, “Don’t just fill your hotel – fill it with the most valuable travellers. International visitors stay longer, book further in advance and are less likely to cancel. Today, they are more price sensitive than ever before.  Diversifying your distribution strategy might give you a bigger slice of the international pie, better base inventory and higher Average Daily Rate.”

In addition, Pimpawee offers the following tips for hotels to get the most from international travelers: