By THE NATION
For the seventh annual edition of the awards, 759,845 properties in total across 219 countries and territories are being given an award, with the top countries receiving the most awards being Italy (106,513), Spain (46,646), France (45,286), Germany (36,042), United States (35,626), Croatia (34,027), United Kingdom (31,206), Russian Federation (26,729), Poland (26,572), and Brazil (24,477). Thailand ranks in twentieth place in the global ranking with a total of 9,251 properties awarded, an increase of 2,156 properties.
Based on the share of properties receiving an award in 2018, Booking.com is now revealing the most welcoming places on Earth according to customer reviews. With the highest percentages of total eligible properties winning awards, the most welcoming countries are Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, New Zealand, Taiwan, Romania, Hungary, Ireland, Serbia, and Greece.
Countries were sorted by the total share of 2018 Guest Review Award winners when compared to the total amount of eligible properties in that country. Countries also had to have an above average amount of winners to be included on this list (4,000 award recipients or higher).
For Thailand, the most welcoming destinations are Sukhothai, Khao Lak, Nai Yang Beach, Pai, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Koh Lanta, Kanchanaburi, Chiang Rai, Koh Tao and Krabi town.
Also cities were sorted by the total share of 2018 Guest Review Award winners when compared to the total amount of eligible properties in that city. Cities had to have an above average amount of winners to be included on this list (60 award recipients or higher).
This is especially relevant for the 86 per cent of global travellers who say friendly and interesting locals are one of their top considerations when selecting a destination for their next trip.
This is defined as the percentage of respondents who rated this aspect a 7 out of 10 or higher. Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 53,492 respondents across 31 markets. In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in the past 12 months and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place between October 16 and November 12.
When it comes to the most welcoming property types globally, they are all from the alternative accommodation segment, which highlights the ongoing traveller appreciation for unique stay experiences: Riads, Bed and Breakfasts, Farm Stays, Guest Houses, ApartHotels and Ryokans.
For the second year in a row, apartments are the top-awarded accommodation type, making up more than a third (36 per cent) of the award-winning properties globally in 2018. In fact, while hotels come in as the second-awarded accommodation type, nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of all the winning properties are homes, apartments and other unique places to stay, including everything from boats and igloos to homestays and country houses.
Also for a second consecutive year in 2018, four out of the five top-awarded accommodation types are alternative accommodation options from apartments (269,649) to hotels (148,913), guest houses (78,574),B&Bs (66,697), and holiday homes (56,303).
The ongoing appreciation and interest from travellers to experience a wide variety of unique stay experiences is also reflected in recent research by Booking.com with 500 Thai travellers which highlights that more than a third of travellers (41 per cent) would prefer to stay in a vacation rental (holiday home or apartment) over a hotel in 2019. In addition, 54 per cent of Thai travellers also wanting to stay in an accommodation type they’ve never experienced before in 2019, the consumer demand in this segment remains strong.
“No matter the type, size or location of the property, what we see from our customers is that they value a human connection when they travel, whether it’s some extra attention to detail or a truly individualised approach to service,” says Olivier Gremillon, Vice President at Booking.com.
“With these awards, we celebrate and thank all of the amazing accommodation providers who create special travel experiences for our customers on a daily basis.”
A selection of outstanding properties in Thailand receiving a 2018 award are Diem Residence on Koh Pha-Ngan where receives a remarkable review score of 9.8 from guests who booked their stay on Booking.com. Couples particularly like the location — they rated it 9.5 for a two-person trip. This resort is also rated for the best value in Thongsala. Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.
The Sukhothai Resort in Sukhothai receives a very high review score of 9.7. This resort is also rated for the best value in Sukhothai as the rooms are big and clean while its swimming pool received 9.9 review score.
Other places include Jaru in Chiang Rai and Lake Hill in Sri Sawat, Kanchanaburi.
To be recognised with an award, properties had to have an average review score of 8.0 or higher based on at least 5 reviews as of 11:59pm (CET) on October 31, 2018. Only customers that have actually stayed at an accommodation can leave a review of their experience on Booking.com.