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    Jan 17, 2014

    Bangkok hotels cut rates to woo protesters


    MANY hotels in areas near anti-government demonstrations have launched promotions, especially discounts, to attract protesters participating in the "Bangkok shutdown", to compensate for a significant drop in foreign tourists coming to the Thai capital.

    Centara Hotels has reduced the room rates of its four major hotels by 40 per cent to about 3,100 baht (S$120), including breakfast, down from 5,000 baht per night.

    Novotel Bangkok Siam Square is offering a special discounted price of 2,200 baht per night for an overnight room and 1,500 baht for daytime stays until 6pm, till the end of this month.

    Ms Supawan Tanomkieatipume, chairman of public relations at the Thai Hotels Association, said many hotel operators - especially those near rally sites such as Pathumwan - had adjusted their business strategies by cutting costs as much as possible.

    "We normally have occupancy rates of 70 to 80 per cent on average in the first quarter. However, it has plunged to between 40 per cent and 60 per cent. We expect to lose between 10 per cent and 20 per cent in sales opportunities per month if the Bangkok shutdown is prolonged," she said.

    She said promotions to attract protesters was another strategy for hotel operators at demonstration locations to boost sales and reduce business losses during the shutdown period.

    Protesters marched on revenue offices yesterday, but their numbers appeared to be dwindling and ministers said the movement could be running out of steam.

    Around 500 protesters marched from their camp in Lumpini Park to government revenue offices in the area.

    A handful of protesters went in to talk with officials at each site and some said they wanted to freeze Prime Minster Yingluck Shinawatra's salary.

    However, the number of people camping out overnight at some of the seven big intersections targeted by protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban's group appears to have dropped and attempts to block traffic along other roads have become half-hearted.