Strong leisure, business travel activities lift Asian hoteliers’ confidence

Asian hoteliers are predicting an energetic business landscape this year due to continued improvement in traveller confidence as well as an enduring revenge travel sentiment.

Yuthachai Charanachitta, CEO at Onyx Hospitality Group, is particularly upbeat about the first six months of 2024 and optimistic about the full year.

As traveller confidence grows, Asian hoteliers predict a boost in the business landscape for 2024

“After years of pandemic restrictions and lockdowns, many people have a deep desire to travel again. This revenge travel trend is expected to continue well into 2024, driving demand for all types of travel experiences,” Yuthachai said, adding that resilient consumer spending in 2024 as well as the growing trend in work-leisure travel combinations, preference for local immersion, leisure-focused and family-oriented trips will benefit the company.

“With Onyx’s diverse portfolio of brands – Amari, Ozo, Shama and Oriental Residence – situated in a range of locations across South-east Asia, from cities to beaches, we are well placed to capitalise on these trends,” he remarked.

Boripat Louichareon, managing director of Standard Asia, also expects 1H2024 to be especially rosy, as the “anticipated resurgence” in travel and tourism would drive “heightened demand for our services”.

Boripat said: “As traveller confidence grows, we anticipate increased bookings leading to higher hotel occupancy rates and greater demand for various travel-related services such as dining, beverages, wellness programmes, and activities. This surge might also extend to (business events) or group-related tourism.

“Moreover, the initiation of visa-free travel between Thailand and China from March onward is anticipated to notably stimulate demand for our Thai properties among Chinese travellers. This initiative holds the potential to further elevate the appeal of our Thai accommodation, catering to a larger demographic of tourists from China.”

Minor International is so far off to a promising start, said its founder and chairman William Heinecke in a press statement issued on January 24.

Room bookings for hotels in Thailand in January-February soared by 20 per cent to 30 per cent year-on-year. Chinese bookings have nearly doubled that of 2023.

“We are seeing Chinese tourists coming back strong, despite their economic challenges,” said Heinecke.

The months ahead will see continued investments in portfolio and market presence expansion as well as people development, shared hotel leadership.

Standard Asia will open The StandardX, Melbourne and The Standard, Singapore before the mid-year mark, as well as launch The Standard Residences in two prime Thai locations – Hua Hin and Bang Tao.

“Our primary focus involves boosting visibility and maximising investments in our existing pipelines, alongside actively pursuing collaborations with developers to craft exquisite properties throughout the region,” said Boripat.

Onyx is expanding into the wellness tourism sector through its new Maai Spa brand and concept. It is also growing the footprint of its Prego Italian dining brand. Prego, which has been in the marketplace for two decades, is now operating in Koh Samui, Bangkok, and Pattaya. It will open a new outlet in Kata Beach, Phuket, in early 2024. A spin-off, Pregolino, made its debut in the Maldives last year.

“We also prioritise the development of our people because we firmly believe in the service-profit chain. By taking care of our people, we trust that they will, in turn, take care of our guests, and the bottom line will naturally follow,” added Yuthachai.

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