BANGKOK, 5 October 2021: A website that has delivered Thailand’s alternative state quarantine hotels in the English language to international travellers is now breaking into the commercial online booking market with a no commissions business model.
Locanation.com’s founder and CEO Pepe Arunanondchai officially launched the beta edition of his booking platform on 1 October, targeting to have all the bells and whistles in place by mid-month.
Just a year ago, he was competing in the Tourism Authority of Thailand Startup Series 2 that would lead to the launch of https://asq.locanation.com in December 2020. It introduced an English version of the Thai’s government’s ASQ hotels listing for the mandatory 14-day quarantine stay in Bangkok and later Phuket.
Today, he is expanding with a commercial version fit for purpose in post-Covid-19 times. The official press statement bills the launch as an alternative to online travel agencies such as Agoda and Traveloka. It presents a no-commission policy, and unlike mega OTAs, participating hotels can communicate directly with users on the platform through posts and direct messaging.
He has the attention of hotels claiming his booking platform will save them up to 30% in booking fees compared with the booking giants that dominate the market today. The initial target is to recruit from Thailand’s massive pool of independent hotels that lack online reservation capabilities.
Travellers who visit https://locanation.com can book the basic deal on a hotel rate and then secure the hotel’s added value perks and privileges that are prominently featured on the booking platform’s homepage menu through what Pepe calls “Locanation Coins.”
The payable perks include early check-in
and late checkout, airport transfer or shuttle, complimentary mini-bar, extra
bed “floating breakfast,” and lounge access.
Pepe Arunnondchai explains: “We collect Locanation coin from travellers to purchase add-ons privileges. Every booking will start with a minimum of 1,000 coins, which is sufficient for basic privileges, but if the traveller wants more, they can purchase more coins through the site.”
In the official press statement posted by
the National News Bureau of Thailand, TAT deputy governor of the domestic
market, Thapanee Kiatpaiboon said: “The agency is keen to support startups,
specifically Thai-bound TravelTechs, helping to manoeuvre them through
The platform also supports the government’s Phase 3 of the ‘We Travel Together’ or ‘Rao Tiew Duay Gun’ scheme with 2 million eligible accounts.
Now in its beta version phase, the site is up and running with the full booking features due to go live 15 October and other content and offers will follow shortly afterwards, says the founder and CEO. He emphasises the site is now being actively promoted by the TAT, the Thai Hotels Associations and the platform’s marketing and sales team.
A check of the website confirms the essential services are functional, but many of the menu tags at the foot of the homepage flag an “under construction” message.
The “about” displays the background and message from Pepe who presents the site’s core message: “Good for Hotels, Better for Travellers.
As for the future, beyond the beta phase, Pepe says he has an eye on neighbouring country markets to export the no commissions fee site that sells like a low-cost airline – perks and privileges cost you more.
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