K. Nontana Thanabatchai Presently, travel websites are increasingly popular being as a strategic tool for uses of searching travel information, hotel and air ticket reservations. Travel website becomes an online intermediary to which huge number of tourists have paid the most attention. 

     In the globalized world, whatever you are hoteliers, restaurant owners, or airliners, you definitely get involved with high technology and it straightly plays a great role in supporting travel business, especially through- Internet communication, which spends low principal but gains efficient results. 

     In Thailand, not only business entrepreneurs who place much importance on having their own website for the purpose of promoting their business, number of online travel agents is also increasing to emphasize the currently trendy online solution. 

     Mrs. Nontana Thanabatrchai, the Managing Director of A2Z Professional Travel Company Ltd., and the owner of the leading website namely “Morethailand.com, is another eyeing at online travel business as one of the most effective tool in running business. Mrs. Nontana explained that after about a year of experimental IT usage and marketing effort in travel business, the company later on had brained storm on push marketing planning in order to jump to expanding an online travel market base. This effort would be as to keep up with the expansion of online travel business trend, which had remained increasingly and fast growing with the world economics.

     Mrs. Nontana expected that overseas tourists arrival to Thailand in the year 2004 would be approximately over 11.4 millions. Hence, the growing popularity trend in Internet usage made foreign tourists, especially those from Europe, America, and Asia, chose to make their hotel booking through website rather than through traditional travel agents. International tourists from the above zones engaged a high rate of searching for travel information and hotel booking at 30% of the whole tourists in past year.

     As competitive as it has been in travel business situation, the company has focused on marketing, management and technology strategies, in order to enhance its competitive advantage by making difference for Morethailand.com website and affiliating with travel agents and over 1,000 hotels throughout Thailand, handing in offering more than 100 travel programs and tour packages to customers. 

     “We are hotel booking intermediary, using the Dynamic Pricing strategy which is adaptable to market current and changing customers' needs. This will help hotel owners and partners able to effectively manage daily room sale in advance and to provide customers an instant booking service, where customers can receive an immediate room confirmation”, said Mrs. Nontana.

     Despite its only 2- year establishment, the company's success has been seen visible, with present visitors to Morethailand.com website for over 3,000 daily. In this year, the company has set an aim to strategic push marketing in advertising, public relation and sale promotional activities. The budget for those activities is estimated at approximate 20 millions Baht. 

     “Online room reservation provided by Morethailand.com will help independent owned hotels gain more capability to competing with chained hotels. Being an affiliate with Morethailand.com will adds more channels to sale and expands market base. In this year, the expected sale volume for hotel would not be less than 20,000 room nights.” Mrs. Nontana added. Moreover, the company has additional websites such as thaiparks123.com, which provides information about national parks in Thailand, and Morephuket.com. For Morephuket.com, it was created to respond the risky situation of Phuket's hotel business resulted from its highly competitive business environment. Huge number of hotel rooms is running conversely to changing trend of tourists traveling to alternative destinations such as Krabi and Khao Lak. This draws many hotel owners down in troubles of low occupancy rate since most tourists prefer staying in brand name hotels”

     Currently, number of rooms in Phuket is more than 3,000. Among this number, brand name and international chain hotels are of advantage in their room management capacity. Contrary to foreign chain hotels, Thai- owned hotels are more dependent on foreign travel agents. Opening Morephuket.com is thus heading to be Thai brand travel website which offers various promotions to meet different needs of the markets worldwide. This helps manage room night effectively and reduce 50 % of marketing cost. 

Nora Beach Resort and Spa, Koh Samui     Mr. Worasit Phongkamphan, the Vice Managing Director, Nora Beach Resort and Spa, stated that Nora Beach Resort and Spa was an affiliate with Morethailand.com, cooperating in marketing effort doing differentiation strategy for products in each website. An example is a hotel package of “14 nights stay, pay 10”. The package can help increase sale volume for Nora Beach Resort and Spa since it monthly receives guests from Morethailand.com, occupying more than 150 rooms.

Asia Hotel, Bangkok     Mr. Surapong Techaruwichitr, the Managing Director, Asia HotelsGroup revealed that Asia Hotel, Bangkok started its website named asiahotel.co.th five years ago to support FIT group. During the past 2- 3 years, Asia Hotel gained eventual growth of 70- 80 % per year for room booking through its website. In the first half- year, 80% of growth was 15% increasing revenue and it was expected for the next 1- 2 years that rate of revenue would be increasing to 20 –25 % with continually growing in long term. 

     Popularity in the usage of hotel website in room booking is a result of changing tourists behavior in that booking room through website provides them convenience, fastness and low cost. In this, keyword selection is very important. Asia Hotel gives an essential on comprehensively selecting groups of keywords often used by tourists when they search for travel information. This practice can result in the website being prior in page rank. Other practices are to continuously update information and content in the website and to immediately respond to travelers' enquiries. 

     In the side of Governmental sectors, especially Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), which is in charge of tourism industry, has also been alert in online business. Being stressed for the past undesired number of tourist arrival, TAT in this year heads to draw up to 12 millions tourists or 20% increasing from last year. The effort includes the 4- year tourism strategic plan between 2005- 2008, indicating hope to achieve 20% annual increase of tourist arrival. At the end of strategic year plan, tourist arrival should have been around 20 millions. 

     Regarding to the mentioned environmental force, TAT has also relied on intelligent technology as such Internet to help expand the tourist markets, with a hand of Cendant, the giant e- business company in world tourism industry. Cendant has over 7,000 branch companies worldwide. This can be of help to Thailand tourism in such a way that draws another 2 millions international FIT travelers per year, which is a new market for TAT to get involved in, and has high potential to growth in the near future.