Sensing an opportunity amid the crisis, upmarket hotels near Ratchaprasong and Asok intersections that have lost foreign tourists have seen an increase in Thai guests staying and dining at their premises.

These five-star hotels are launching aggressive campaigns with 30-40% discounts to attract Thais attending mass rallies.

Their restaurants are generating rising sales to compensate losses from room cancellations by international tourists due to the protests.

Many Thai people have checked in at the hotels since the weekend.

Centara Hotels & Resorts launched its Shutdown Bangkok Promotion package for Jan 12-19. Guests get free internet, breakfast and laundry with reduced room rates at Centara Grand at CentralWorld, Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok, Centara Watergate Pavilion Hotel Bangkok, Centra Government Complex Hotel & Convention Centre Chaeng Watthana and Centra Central Station Hotel Bangkok.

Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok has a special package for Thai guests with a room rate of 4,500 baht including breakfast and free internet. Its normal rate is 8,000 baht.

Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok is offering a deluxe room at 4,850 baht including breakfast, reduced from its normal rate of 6,490 baht, and a junior suite at 8,850 baht, down from 13,490 baht.

Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21 has a special room rate of 3,500 baht including breakfast with an aim to boost its occupancy rate to 85%, compared with 95% this time last year.

Ronnachit Mahattanapreut, senior vice-president for finance and administration at Centara Hotels & Resorts, said Centara Grand at CentralWorld is offering a discount of about 40% to 3,199 baht per room per night.

“We hope this promotion will boost bookings this week. As of Sunday, average occupancy was only 50%,” he said.

Although Centara has lost about 70 million baht in revenue due to the impact of political problems since November, this will not affect the group’s overall projection of revenue of 8.8 billion baht this year.

An executive at Accor Thailand said some of the chain’s hotels in Bangkok’s central business district have been affected by the traffic blockade but guests have been advised to use public transport and avoid protest areas.

Hotels in the downtown area are operating as usual, with an occupancy rate of about 60%. ___