Agoda Confident of its Future

After six months of COVID-19 lockdown globally, major OTAs have been on a restructuring path and taking new steps to address the decline in global hotel demand. During May, Agoda announced the lay off of some 1,500 workers or around a quarter of its total workforce of 5,500 employees then. Of its 4,000 remaining employees, some 2,200 are based in Thailand.

Agoda has adapted to the changing times and recently implemented these initiatives:
1. Hygiene Verification feature that allows customers to identify hotels that meet a standard checklist of health and safety measures.
2. Easier Cancellation process to offer greater flexibility for travellers.
3. Go Local Campaign to encourage people to travel locally.

Despite near zero bookings due to the global lockdowns in April 2020, Agoda chief John Brown expects domestic bookings this year to match 2019 levels. International bookings, on the other hand, have dropped significantly to only 3% of total bookings as compared to a near 50-50 ratio in Thailand for 2019. The Singapore headquartered OTA is confident it can weather years of travel restrictions thanks to the strength of domestic bookings especially in Thailand.

According to Agoda, recent trends in domestic bookings show that travellers are booking better quality hotels in the 3 to 4 star range, possibly indicating that travel budgets have been redirected from overseas to domestic travel. However the average duration of stays is less than 2 nights, substantially less than the 1-2 weeks usually achieved for inbound travellers.