THE recent Songkran season in Thailand gave only a brief boost to hotels in Pattaya, where a price war is grinding on, sources tell TTG Asia.
Songkran, which ran from April 13 to 18, failed to bring enough crowds to the resort city famous for its nightlife and entertainment, according to Sanpech Supabowornsthian, assistant managing director, Unchaleewiwat Group.
Hotels (did not do too well) on April 18 and 19, with big tourist volumes gotten only from April 13 to 15, and (occupancy) was only at 80 per cent from April 15 to 16,” said Sanpech, who is also president of the Thai Hotels Association Eastern Chapter.
Hotels in the main tourist area of Pattaya City are faring worse with only 60 per cent occupancy despite having already slashed prices. “Most of them cannot (afford to) dump the price anymore,” exclaimed Sanpec.
He attributed the double slump in rates and occupancy to the declining centricity of Pattaya as a tourist destination, adding that the once popular town is experiencing the effects of “tourist sharing” as Thailand continues promoting other destinations in the country such as cities in the northeast.
Also a bane are shared economy players like Airbnb and apartment hotels, where “even the Chinese use them and they do not overflow into small hotels”, said Sanpec.
Further explaining the difficult situation, Bill Barnett, managing director of consultancy C9 Hotelworks, said that it is due to the absence of Pattaya’s traditional Russian source market. Domestic travellers have declined severely this year as well due to the heatwave.