Accommodation providers that fall under the specifications of the Hotel Act need to apply for permission and comply with the rules and regulations in order to operate a hotel business. These rules and regulations are made to ensure certain standards of hygiene and safety and protect the quality of the environment.
Under the Hotel Act, a hotel is defined as an accommodation established for business purposes to provide temporary accommodation services for travelers or any other person in exchange for compensation.

Depending on the size of the hotel’s facilities and provided services, hotel licenses can be divided into the following categories:
• Hotel business only (50 rooms or less)
• Hotel and restaurant business
• Hotel, restaurant, and seminar rooms
• Hotel, restaurant, seminar rooms, and entertainment business

Prior to finalizing a location for the hotel, it is required to obtain a Permit for Occupation under the Building Control Law, or, if the building is located outside of the Building Control Zone, a Certification of Building Inspection issued by a Licensed Civil Engineer under Thailand’s Engineer Law that stipulates the building may be used as a hotel. The application form should be filed by the civil engineer or architect.
Once the construction permit is issued the hotel operator, who can be also the owner of the hotel, must apply for a hotel license at the Department of Provincial Administration or at the Provincial Governor’s Office for hotels located outside Bangkok. The Health, Environmental, and Construction authorities must also approve the hotel premises.
The process takes approximately six months, but may vary depending on the location of the hotel.

According to the new Hotel Act, the hotel license will be valid for 5 years from the date of issuance and can be renewed. Hotel operators who have already obtained a hotel license under the amended Hotel Act B.E. 2478, remain license holders under the new Hotel Act until the licenses expire.
The Hotel License is transferrable to third parties.

In certain cases, hotel operators must apply for other licenses and permits, for example: restaurant license, entertainment license, service vehicle license, generator permit, fuel storage permit.

Illegal hoteliers are subject to a jail sentence for up to one year and a fine of up to 20,000 Baht. If they continue to run their business illegally, they can also be subject to a fine of 10,000 Baht per day.