Every Agoda customer is automatically enrolled in our unique rewards program
(PRWEB) July 28, 2006
While Thailand tourism has been hit hard by the World Cup, Agoda (agoda.com) - which has its operations headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand - has responded with price cuts, and these cuts may remain in place, at least for a little while longer.
Agoda VP Wilfred Fan explains, "Many online travel merchants projected losses of up 22% because of the World Cup, but we saw this coming and slashed hotel rates at all our top Thai destinations. The increase in business has helped us keep our losses minimal, and we've decided to keep them in place for another month or so, as customers now turn their attention back to Asia travel." Agoda, like many other Asia-based online merchant receives about 40% of its sales from Europeans.
Indeed, Thailand was projected to lose up to US$60 million in revenue shortfall due to Europeans staying home for the World Cup. As many as 40,000 fewer tourists were expected to arrive during the four weeks of the competition. This forced serious action by Agoda.
Says Fan, "at all our top destinations, we provided incentive discounts to drive sales. For Bangkok Hotels, for instance, all our prices are lower than usual for this time of year, but some are significantly so. Take the Davis Hotel Bangkok at US$56/night, for instance, or the new Lebua at State Tower Hotel Bangkok for only US$96/night. These are the kind of special offers that only locally based merchants can offer because they have the relationships and can move quickly to get them on their websites and into the hands of agents. It takes a serious incentive to get European football fans to change their plans at a time like this, so some of the price cuts were pretty dramatic."
Agoda started in a small office in Phuket in 1997, when the online travel business was just getting off the ground, where there was always an enormous range of travel choices on offer. Tourism is starting again to boom in this region after suffering last year with the Tsunami. And it is no coincidence that some of Agoda's best offers are for Phuket Hotels. Of particular note, Fan is proud to point out, is the Burasari Hotel Phuket which is offering a very attractive rate of US$61/night right now.
"These specials are offered to us because these are personal relationships," says Fan. "We were small and local when we began. Now we're bigger and local, despite having operations in other major cities." Fan himself has lived in Bangkok for many years, although born in Hong Kong, and has spent a large part of his career in the hotel business in Australia.
"Every Agoda customer is automatically enrolled in our unique rewards program," adds Fan, "so instead of having just clients, we have over 100,000 loyal members who receive cash back on future bookings, good on 22,000 hotels worldwide. That's a huge difference." Agoda also offers a price guarantee where it will match prices offered by any competitors.
According to Fan, Agoda stays in touch with clients through newsletters and special offers, so those 100,000 regular Agoda travelers found out about our 'World Cup' deals and had time to plan accordingly. Of course, no matter what was offered, many decided to stay home and watch the game on a more convenient time zone with their friends.
"After the first couple of weeks, half of our member countries were out of the contest anyway, with fans then thinking about a nice vacation where they can forget about World Cup disappointments. We figured the least we could do would be keep the price incentives in place for a little longer," says Fan.
The discounts are slated to end sometime in July or mid-August, well after the final game on July 9th. For football fans, it looks like there is life after the World Cup after all.