Thailand’s leading hotel operator, Centara Hotels & Resorts, will now be accepting We Chat Pay transactions on its websites for those looking for convenient way to pay for their hotel near Esplanade Mall, via online room reservations.
The company already had nearly 100 electronic data capture devices for QR code scanning strewn across 15 of its hotels, for WeChat Pay, meaning that its currently the largest hotel group in Thailand that offers Chinese tourists omni-channel payment. WeChat Pay lets tourists directly pay for bills for accommodation, restaurants and spa treatments via their smartphones.
According to Centara, they are working to have WeChat Pay integrated into all of its global properties before the end of 2018. Centara CEO, ThirayuthChirathivat, says that a seamless and convenient payment system for their customers is a part of the company’s platform expansion, which is aimed at doubling both the number of their properties and their revenues within a five-year time span.
He says that with consumer behaviour changing, Centara is adopting an omni-channel strategy in order to keep up with the changing demands and provide a consistently excellent customer experience in all of its hotels. Chirathivat says that Centara embraces these disruptive opportunities in order to stay relevant, improve their services to their guests and stay on top of the industry.
Chinese tourists account for a huge chunk of Thailand’s international arrivals and, with approximately one-third of the Kingdom’s foreign travellers in 2017 hailing from China. According to the Tourism and Sports Ministry, Thailand is expecting at least 10 million Chinese tourists to visit the country in 2018.
WeChat Pay is the payment department of WeChat, one of China’s biggest social networks, which has become one of the most commonly used payment method for daily small transactions throughout the country, with at least 800 million active users to its name.
Centara, much like other tourism businesses in Thailand, have the Chinese as a significant part of their demographic, with Thirayuth saying that their sites receive hundreds of thousands of visits from users in China, with half of them via mobile device. Earlier in 2018, Centara signed a deal with TreePayCo, a payment platform company, for the development of a payment system that would allow Chinese customers outside of China to use their mobile devices to make payments for accommodations and services at Centara properties.