The no reservation days are over?

I visited Thailand for the first time 2 years ago. It was also my first in South East Asia. I was traveling with friends and making our way through islands and the north of the country. It was January and, like us, many others were backpacking too. Once a boat dropped us off on an island we would walk around with our bags looking for a place to stay. It was easy, and kinda fun too.
This year, my husband and I took a trip to Krabi and Koh Lipe, only to find hoards of tourists, larger than the ones we had seen in previous years, and they all had reservations! Gone seem to be the times when hotel representatives try to book your stay on the boat over. Everyone, except for us, trying to stick to our ways, had secured themselves a place to stay.
Times have definitely changed. Some hotels or hostels do not even publish their availability on Agoda but, instead, rely on tourists emailing and booking way in advance. What happened to looking around? Is last minute too last season?
A few months ago I collaborated with a startup that worked on the premise that people look for last minute reservations. Is this premise still true for beach spots with a large influx of tourists? I could see this potentially working for larger cities, but not for these islands with a mass and sudden inflow of tourists, even families, that need a place to stay.
This seems to be surprising for hotel owners too, especially the fact that families with children are making their way to the islands that use to be backpacker turf.
The rise of hotels for flashpackers is also impressive. Nice, clean and expensive (a little bit over US$100) rooms for not so young backpackers who are willing to pay extra for less bugs.
We may have to preempt this for future trips now, and rely on Agoda reviews instead of our own eyes to decide where we spend our holidays nights. What used to be a stroll down island streets will now be an online chore.

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