Travel is bouncing back with huge optimism in the leisure and online space especially here in India. We look back at some of the innovations in distribution as we catch up with Krishna Rathi, Country Director for Agoda in India.
It was a bold move by Agoda to expand into the wholesale space with its Beds Network product late last year. How has the reception been so far?
Beds Network was launched last year with the aim to help properties across the globe distribute their wholesale rates more efficiently and effectively. Leveraging Booking Holdings brands’ connections to over 10,000 affiliate partners network across various markets and verticals including airline partners, offline travel agencies, credit card companies and such like, Beds Network’s partners also access Agoda’s advanced distribution technology to increase productivity of their inventory.
Since we launched Beds Network we have doubled the number of markets to 40, with more markets to follow suit in the coming months. Specifically here in India, we have seen a great response to the program pilot. With an expanded team and dedicated resources, based here, we are confident the interest and impact to only grow further.
Any insights in particular into why the program is doing so well in India?
The reception has been welcoming overall. The simplicity of having one contract with us for all inventory combined with the control and flexibility to change prices when the hotelier wants to is especially appealing to independent hotels in India. We have seen a surge of 14x sign ups among standalone and independent hoteliers successfully enjoying the advantages of Beds Network since the beginning of 2022. The product is clearly helping properties who in the past might not have had the same clout as their competitors to tap into new markets and increase productivity of their inventory.
Can you tell me why a partner would sign up to Beds Network?
There are many reasons, but let me just explain three key reasons to sign up to Beds Network. Firstly, we strive to simplify and streamline accommodation partners’ distribution networks, taking away the complexity of managing multi third-party redistribution. Basically, this means less administrative hassle, as it’s no longer necessary to negotiate individual contracts with each potential partner. Through Beds Network, our partners immediately access an expansive B2B distribution network to showcase their properties through offline travel agencies, financial institutions, airlines or other B2B partners who sell travel to consumers. Another benefit is flexible revenue management. The flexibility to change revenue planning on pricing and availability, if there’s a need, allows hotel partners to have optimal control of income.
Lastly, we see many properties signing up to take full advantage of Agoda’s global data and insights products, and worldwide distribution network. Access is provided through Beds Network, helping our partners to take more efficient business decisions.
What advice would you give a hotel partner looking to join Beds Network?
Take full advantage of the flexible revenue management feature. You are not tied to projecting revenue months in advance, you can make changes whenever you want, and that is incredibly useful now that travel restrictions have lift in most countries and consumers are back to planning holidays with friends and family. The flexibility to change revenue planning on pricing and availability is a powerful tool, and because Agoda’s Beds Network supports both static and dynamic rates, property owners and managers are able to fine tune their strategies to achieve optimal revenue.
International travel is back, what other innovations is Agoda working on for its partners here in India?
Agoda has a bouquet of products for partners globally which allow them to increase their value proposition for consumers and grow their business. Agoda Special Offers, for example, was launched in 2021 to meet travellers’ desire for extra perks with their stay at great prices. With ASO, hotel partners are able to offer a richer customer experience thereby garnering better reviews and enhancing their brand reputation and loyalty. In addition to giving participating properties more visibility and priority, ASO allows for repeat visits, higher revenues from consumers and better utilisation of facilities and services.
The Agoda Growth Program is another premium offering. With AGP, partners enjoy higher visibility on Agoda’s platform, bigger cash back incentives, advertising perks, greater affiliate exposure and increased electronic direct marketing presence. Partners have experienced higher impressions online, increased footfall to their properties and more bookings.
Aside from our dedicated features, Agoda has continued on its path towards being an all-in-one travel platform for all travel needs – be it leisure, business or bleisure, for individuals and families alike. Flights are doing very well especially in India, leading to more opportunities for package deals for consumers and maximising inventory production for hotel partners.
Innovation continues and we look forward to exciting opportunities in 2023.