The Marina Phuket hotel [Credit: Agoda]

Airbnb reports 61 per cent guest arrival growth in Phuket

Thailand: Airbnb has reported that guest arrivals in Phuket went up to 320,000 in 2018, representing a 61 per cent year-on-year growth rate.

The firm revealed that most travellers visiting Phuket started their journeys originally from destinations such as China, United States, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK.

Mike Orgill, Airbnb general manager for Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, told Travel News Asia: “Airbnb’s proposition is diverse and complements Phuket’s current offerings. Airbnb travellers are not your average tourist, they are looking for something different and unique, whether it’s a modern villa, a creative boutique hotel or a traditional homestay.

“79 per cent of our guests book with us because they want to live like a local, and when they travel they spend in the local neighbourhoods and communities they visit. It’s this type of guest that is adding a new and positive dimension to Phuket, and is being welcomed by a large part of the island’s tourism economy,” he added.

Last year, Airbnb recorded a 152 per cent increase in the number of rooms listed in properties across the world that hosts defined as boutique hotels, bed and breakfast, hostels and resorts, echoing Orgill’s views.

In September 2018, Airbnb signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Thai Boutique Accommodation Trade Association (TBAA) as a means to list more than 50 boutique hotels across 15 provinces, including Phuket, Bangkok, Chanthaburi, Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi and Sukhothai.

By diversifying its platform to include traditional hotel accommodation in addition to alternative accommodation, Airbnb has made it easier for hospitality professionals to gain access to more revenue streams.

Vorakarn Wattasoontorn, director of sales at Glam Habitat, said: “Prior to listing on Airbnb, most of our customers were from within Thailand – this has now changed. Airbnb has helped us reach out to international markets and we are now welcoming more international guests to Glam Habitat than ever before.

“Airbnb guests are looking for new types of accommodation and travel experiences, and now they can choose boutique hotels such as ours. This is a growing trend and something that fits well with our unique offering,” added Wattasoontorn.

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