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Chiang Mai Hotels battle disruptors

Author: Bill Barnett / Date: Mon, 07/15/2019 - 11:07
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Shangri La Chiang Mai
Shangri La Chiang Mai

Looking into the numbers this year, total hotel supply in the market is 48,000 keys which is creating a powerful necessity for Chiang Mai to step outside its boutique image and find ways to fill rooms with more mainstream offerings.

Thailand’s northern tourism hub of Chiang Mai has become a victim of its own volume-driven success. According to hospitality data provider STR, market-wide hotel occupancy for the first five months of the year is down 5.1%, compared to the same period in 2018.

In the newly released C9 Hotelworks Chiang Mai Hotel Market Update, the comparison between 2018 when the gateway airport surpassed a record-high 5 million passenger arrivals and now in 2019 as haze and air pollution strongly impacted tourism, are startling reminders how fragile travelers shifting appetites can be.

Chiang Mai Airport Arrivals

Looking into the numbers this year, total hotel supply in the market is 48,000 keys which is creating a powerful necessity for Chiang Mai to step outside its boutique image and find ways to fill rooms with more mainstream offerings.

A number of properties in the incoming pipeline are branded with international operators, as owners are looking for a competitive edge. The recent opening of the Novotel Nimman Journeyhub is just one example of a Bangkok developer looking to diversify into more affordable hotel assets outside of Thailand’s capitol.

Chiang Mai Hotels in the Pipeline

Talking to hotel operator’s C9’s research has highlighted that Chiang Mai’s mounting reliance on the Mainland Chinese sector, which is in the midst of a slowdown is cause for concern.  In the first half of last year, China was the number one international source market, holding a 14% share in hotel guests.

In the longer-term, moving past pollution, Chinacation and over-development issues, the bigger issue is how will Chiang Mai evolve from a headlong dive into a far bigger tourism pool and still retain the destination’s long-lasting image as a cultural icon? Same same, but different looks to be a challenging task ahead.

To download and read C9 Hotelworks full Chiang Mai Hotel Market Update, click HERE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Barnett

Managing Director

With over 30 years' industry experience in Asia, Managing Director Bill Barnett's brings passion and widely respected expertise to his craft of consulting in the hospitality real estate space. Prior to founding C9 Hotelworks in 2003, he held executive roles with prominent international hotel management companies and publicly listed organizations in both key and emerging markets. Strategically based in Thailand, Bill has held senior roles including Deputy Managing Director of the publicly listed destination resort Laguna Phuket, where he was instrumental in establishing a branded hotel managed residential property division into a prominent real estate operation. Prior to this he was Chief Operating Officer – Asia Pacific for Millennium & Copthorne Hotels in Singapore, where his responsibility covered 43 operating and hotel assets. As an executive with Century International Hotels in Hong Kong, he played a key role in the expansion of the chain for nine years, through Vice President positions in operations, development and asset management. Delivering a proven track record in asset management, Bill has acted in ownership representation for leading hotels including properties under Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Regent, Hyatt, Hilton, Starwood, InterContinental and ACCOR. He attended executive education courses at Cornell University School of Hospitality Management and is currently a member of ISHC (International Society of Hospitality Consultants) and was awarded a prestigious PATA Gold Award in 2007 for Marketing. Bill shares his finger-on-the-industry-pulse through lively presentations at key industry conferences in the Asia Pacific region, and regularly contributes to publications including Property Report and the leading tourism and property based newspaper the Phuket Gazette. Additionally he has appeared on CNBC, BBC and CNN.