Marriott International wants to continue hiking room rates to secure growth in Thailand this year, while it aims to open eight more properties.
“We have great confidence in Thailand,” said Jakob Helgen, area vice-president of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar at Marriott International.
Mr Helgen said Thailand’s reopening without restriction, which could have gained more than 11 million foreign tourists last year, had really made the country a desirable destination.
He said the company would ramp up its expansion after facing delays in construction and product management over the past two years.
The average room rate of Marriott properties in Thailand in December last year increased by 15% from pre-pandemic levels, even though the average occupancy rate still lagged behind.
The company will continue to look for pricing opportunities through certain segmentations such as direct bookings, transient customers, and business travellers.
It expected to maintain a healthy room rate throughout the first quarter.
Despite economic headwinds, the company expected to see an improvement this year, driven by pent-up demand from Chinese travellers. However, the issue of limited flight capacity remains, said Mr Helgen.
Marriott operates 48 properties in Thailand, including more than 13,000 rooms under 14 brands. Courtyard by Marriott North Pattaya, the third property under the Courtyard brand in the country, opened last year.
The company, which plans to open eight properties in Thailand this year, will launch two new brands in the country — Moxy Hotels and Autograph Collection Hotels. This brings the number of brands it operates in the country up to 16.
Madi Paidi Bangkok Autograph Collection, which boasts a premium position and 56 rooms, is expected to open by the middle of the year, while the 500-room Moxy Hotel Ratchaprasong, providing affordable options on a select-service scale, is slated to open in the third quarter.
Mr Helgen said people will travel more post-pandemic, combining work and leisure as well as opting for longer stays.
With good diplomatic relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia, Marriott International is also eyeing the Saudi Arabian market, along with other Middle Eastern markets.
The extension of eligible stay in Thailand from 30 days to 45 days until the end of the year will strongly support tourism recovery. In its five-year plan, the firm aims to open new 30 hotels in Thailand.