Airbnb and GSB to empower Thai homestay owners with flexible-interest rate loans and hospitality training programmes
Airbnb, the world’s leading community-driven hospitality company, and the Government Savings Bank, Thailand’s state-owned bank with over 106 years of history, announced an official strategic partnership to help promote and empower Thai hospitality entrepreneurs — starting with local homestay owners.
Through the partnership, GSB will help ensure better funding for hospitality entrepreneurs by providing flexible-interest rate loans and installment plans. Airbnb will work with GSB to help build capacity through hospitality and hosting training while connecting homestay owners to its worldwide platform and marketplace network of over 500 million guests.
Dr. Chatchai Payuhanaveechai, GSB President and CEO, and Mike Orgill, Airbnb General Manager for Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, jointly launched the partnership this morning. As part of the launch pilot yesterday, Airbnb and GSB trained GSB officials and 29 local homestay groups, including the participants of GSB’s ‘Smart Homestay 2018 Competition’, which recognised outstanding homestays in different provinces across Thailand.
The partnership will support local sustainable tourism while diversifying income distribution to communities across Thailand, in alignment with the Thai Government’s initiative to drive local economic growth in secondary cities through tourism. Specifically, both GSB and Airbnb pledged to expand business opportunities for Thai hospitality micro-entrepreneurs to help generate income for local communities.
GSB will provide a special loan package – providing grassroots customers with smaller, flexible loans – to hospitality micro-entrepreneurs who meet the Bank’s requirements. Airbnb will conduct a series of train-the-trainer model capacity building sessions to equip GSB officials with the skills to navigate and utilise Airbnb’s global platform efficiently, and cascade this knowledge to homestay owners under GSB’s programmes.
Participants took part in a series of sharing sessions about Thai tourism and its opportunities, as well as an Airbnb host onboarding and activation workshop for homestay owners. The high-speed fiber optic Internet for the workshop was provided by state-owned telecommunications company TOT Public Company Limited.
Airbnb Superhost, Nitaya Laisuwan, who hosts in a homestay in Bangkok, also shared her personal story and best practices. The passionate host and mother of two is a full-time English teacher who welcomes guests in her 4th generation traditional Thai wooden home, located by Bangkok’s Chao Praya river.
Dr. Chatchai Payuhanaveechai, President and CEO, GSB:
“Local homestays are increasingly integral to the development of our tourism industry and community. This helps to create both economic and social value, as Thais share their local wisdom, culture and traditions with visitors from around the world. Our joint partnership today will support sustainable and creative tourism through a new ecosystem that facilitates access to funding and hospitality training, allowing them to grow sustainably. We hope that everyone will share their knowledge with homestay owners in other cities to help generate income for local communities. Coupled with Airbnb’s global platform, we are confident that our homestay owners will be equipped to provide the best hospitality experience with the world.”
Mike Orgill, General Manager for Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Airbnb:
“Community tourism is a powerful tool and the new driving force behind Thailand’s tourism industry. Travellers from around the world are seeking off-the-beaten-path travel experiences when they visit Thailand, and hospitality entrepreneurship is flourishing as the demand for local, authentic and unique tourism continues to grow. Homestays are growing rapidly on our Airbnb platform today. Our host and guest communities are also expanding rapidly beyond major tourism hotspots into upcoming cities like Nakhon Sawan and Chiang Rai. In GSB, we have found an ideal partner who shares our vision to digitally connect local hospitality entrepreneurs and spread the benefits of responsible and sustainable tourism across Thailand.”
Nitaya Laisuwan, Airbnb Superhost:
“I was looking for an additional source of income and my husband had experience renting apartments long-term so we decided to build a traditional-style wooden house. At first we thought we would rent to Thai people but then felt it would appeal to international visitors as there is nothing like it in our area of Bangkok. I looked at a number of platforms to list my homestay and decided that Airbnb best suited my needs. The platform is easy to use and easy for a new Host to set-up, it is safe and secure and I have full control on when I take bookings. Through Airbnb I now have an extra source of income for me and my family, and this has helped to make our lives better.”
Wichit Methaanankul, Owner of Monhmong homestay in Chiang Mai and one of the final 10 homestays that won the GSB Smart Homestay Competition 2018:
“This partnership is a great initiative as it allows homestay owners to connect with, and learn directly from, the platform like Airbnb. Currently most of our guests are Thai, and now we are planning to use Airbnb as our new marketing channel, which we believe can help us better reach travellers from other countries.”