Maintaining a website, blog and training provider database is quite some work, but what makes our work at TraditionalBodywork.com even tougher is the quality, or perhaps better – the non-quality of websites of Thai Massage schools in Thailand. Luckily enough there are exceptions – and about that later – but generally things are really not good and need serious improvement.
But before we go further with the topic, do mind this: the Thai themselves generally don’t really care about it, because an awful, unreliable or partially functional website doesn’t hurt them commercially or financially. Why not? Well, tourism is of such volume (Thailand being in the top five of tourist destinations on our planet), that they basically always have more than enough students anyway. So why care or bother?
Moreover, as one of my former Thai English students told me: “It’s better to leave things how they are, that is — disorderly, unorganized, strange, irritating — because it makes that foreigners find us exotic, charming. And that’s why they keep coming!” Well, there’s certainly some truth to that, and who am I to counter the argument as… yes, Thailand is still a major tourist destination… and the tourists keep on going.
But okay, we as prospective Thai Massage students don’t really like it, and in this article we’re going to take a look at several factors that often make Thai Massage school websites a “drag,” to say the least. I know that the Thai won’t thank me for saying things out loud, because it means a sort of “losing face,” and they just don’t like people who make them lose face. Nevertheless, things need to be said, I think, else there will certainly never be any improvement at all. And, I don’t mind to be the culprit.
General Quality Issues
404 Website Not Found
It’s not rare to encounter a HTTP 404 Not Found error when browsing to a formerly existing school website. But beware, this doesn’t mean the website doesn’t exist anymore. Often the owners simply didn’t pay the prolongation of the domain name or hosting. Sometimes you will also see a “Website Suspended”, or “The page you are looking for is temporarily unavailable” message. It’s typical Thai – poor organizational attitudes make this happen way too often. So, visiting the website a few weeks (or months) later will often do the job to have access again.
Badly Maintained Websites
You will find many Thai Massage school websites or pages that are only partially translated to English, or that contain links or references to other pages on the website that don’t work, or contain severely outdated information like, for instance, “Schedule of Courses 2012” (while we are living in 2019), “Latest News,” with info about some happening in 2013 (still living in 2019), or training courses that don’t exist any longer.
A notorious example of this, is the website of the most famous Thai Massage school in the world, the Watpo Thai Tradional Massage school. Just take a look at the website: you’ll find the Annual Holiday 2013 schedule prominently shown in the menu, their News items date from 2014, the homepage is just blended with grammatical and spelling errors (like the rest of the website), some menu items and links don’t work at all, well, to just point out a few of many examples.
It’s almost… appalling, and honestly, I find this kind of websites, of which there are too many to be found in Thailand, a sort of disrespectful towards prospective clients and students.
Poor Use of English
Although many Thai Massage schools that cater to foreigners have a website in English, that is – a sort of English – the quality of grammar and spelling is often just deplorable. It would be something that could be fixed easily by just asking any native English speaking student to check on their websites. Why don’t they do that? Well, the Thai just don’t care about errors really, and they think that when it’s in some kind of English the quality is more than good enough.
But… for foreign students… it’s not only a joke, it also makes it harder to discern what a particular school is offering exactly (besides the fact that it rubs off on the school itself as being of poor quality). Any Thai school paying more attention to this would simply get more foreign students.
You will notice that a bunch of schools don’t have a (functional) website, but use a Facebook page as their Internet presence. Or they have an outdated website, but their Facebook page is more up-to-date. Of course, Facebook page maintenance is much easier than maintaining a website, but it’s also much harder to find info in a structured way.
Here also, although the schools are more prone to post more frequently on Facebook, you will find severely outdated Facebook pages, but at least you can give it a try to send a Facebook Messenger message, which will be usually better responded to than email.
School Inquiry Response
Response by email or contact forms is usually very minimal. As said here above, better try over Facebook if they have a Facebook presence. The problem with email or contact-form messages is that email gets into spam mail folders, or drowns into overly full inboxes (because never or too little read), or limit-exceeds allowed email space, and the like.
This is something not to be blamed on the Thai really, it’s more the Asian-thing of bling-bling, flashy, moving objects on websites, with lots of pictures, videos, and so on, that makes a website, to the taste of Westerners, a bit of … too much. But surely, if a Thai Massage school caters mostly to foreigners, the school management should try to avoid too much bling-bling.
Other Thai Websites
Now, when you look at websites of Muay Thai schools (Thai Boxing) for instance, the quality, usually, is much better compared to Thai Massage training center websites. Perhaps Muay Thai training for foreigners has a longer history and awareness of the value of having a good website is just bigger. I don’t really know.
Then you will see that upscale, high-end spas, hotels, resorts and retreat chains in Thailand often have high-quality websites. Need to say here, that the management staff, particularly marketing and advertisement departments, are often occupied by foreign, English-speaking professionals who understand the value of having a presentable, clear and reliable website (and can apply that knowledge).
Well-Maintained Thai Massage School Websites
Just to make up for the above, I’ll give some examples of well-maintained Thai Massage School websites in Thailand. Of course, you might find a website attractive or not, but that’s more of a personal taste.
Yet, again, most of these websites are schools were foreigners run the management, or Thai who are married with foreigners who support in maintaining the website, or Thai Massage teachers who have been living or working for longer periods outside of Thailand. Surely, here also, there are always exceptions.