How has COVID affected Agoda? What was Agoda’s biggest challenge since the pandemic?
As a key player in the travel space, Agoda was of course impacted by the disruption caused to the industry and we had to resize and refocus the business early on. International travel practically came to a stand still, which created a huge challenge, but we did have new opportunities arise from this too. We had to pivot into new areas and innovate quickly, for example it drove us to fast-forward our self service portal for customer support, we pivoted to domestic travel products like GoLocal, we helped support government initiative roll-outs including subsidy campaigns and Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) options and develop customer facing products like Hygiene Plus and EasyCancel.
Because of the lack of bookings, we had limited data to predict pricing or travel trends, so we had to act more entrepreneurial and place bigger bets on what would or wouldn’t work, which has been great at driving innovation across the business.
Hoteliers can do their own digital marketing, what is the incentive for hoteliers to give this responsibility to Agoda?
The reality is because of our global scale and reach we can be more efficient at marketing optimization than an individual property could achieve without heavy time or financial investment. Also, Agoda has many direct customers – which means Agoda loyal users will come to our app or website directly when they want to look for an accommodation to stay, because they are used to the smooth and intuitive user experience, wide hotel selection, great prices and loyalty benefits. So our partners see us as a valuable channel to bring travellers to our platform and to their hotels.
Our scale enables us to see data trends very quickly, and respond accordingly for our partners. These insights will prove invaluable to our partners as markets open up. We will see spikes in demand along certain routes and we can respond by quickly putting investment behind the channels to re-target ads for those looking to travel. That’s invaluable for our partners.
But it’s not just for major changes that our data helps, it’s also for the day to day trends we see where we can add value. For instance the surge in mobile bookings shifted our focus to developing products or initiatives specifically targeting mobile and app users, making sure the best deals and offers, and the widest choice of properties are available to them.
And our machine learning and AI means we can personalise the search responses to match the needs of the user more accurately making their decisions on where to stay much easier.
What tools does Agoda offer hotel partners manage their performance on Agoda and shape their marketing strategy?
Agoda’s Partner Hub and YCS extranet are the go-to platforms with easy-to-use dashboards for properties to manage their own presence and reach new customers. It enables properties to receive intelligence and insights on travel trends. For example, currently our partners are benefitting from Agoda’s GoLocal product that is driving more domestic travellers to them. Our local market managers use evidence and data to find the best value solutions for our partners.
How can Agoda help its hoteliers perform most effectively?
Agoda’s technology offers partners deep insight into the NZ domestic and international markets. Our marketing optimisation technology funnels customers towards properties that they would otherwise not have found. So we are already helping thousands of properties in NZ find and secure new customers. We are proud of that.
Agoda has launched Agoda Special Offers (ASO), what’s so special about it?
A11. According to Agoda’s recent survey, we found that 27% of travellers now treat hotel stays as the destination itself and no longer just a place to sleep in. Food & Beverage (F&B) experiences and early check-in/late check-out are the top must-have benefits for them with their accommodation packages.
Agoda Special Offers is our latest product designed to meet travellers’ desire for extra perks with their stay at great prices, and also help partners gain higher exposure to these travellers and increase bookings and revenues.
Our Indonesian hotel partners can now sign up to list on Agoda’s platform exclusive and non-exclusive packages of value-added benefits with their rooms, such as early check-in and late check-out perks, food and beverage vouchers, onsite or offsite experiences, and special room upgrade deals. Participating hotels will benefit from Agoda’s extensive reach and insights into local and global travellers needs, as well as its robust marketing technology and strategies to drive higher exposure and conversion of guests who are looking out for such deals.