• Agoda & Ministry of Public Health With Department of Health Service Expand Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) Options

    Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and Department of Health Service Support (HSS) today announced they will leverage Agoda’s cutting edge digital technologies to further improve accessibility and efficiency for the booking processes of Alternative States Quarantine (ASQ) packages for Thai repatriates and in-bound travelers during COVID-19. This collaboration makes Thailand one of the first countries in the world to digitalize the booking process.

    Returning Thais and inbound travelers will be able to search for and book MOPH-approved ASQ properties via a dedicated booking platform ( that allows the traveler to search availability, room type, and pricing in real-time. Quarantine hotel package bookings are required as part of the process to obtain approval from the local Thai embassies to enter Thailand.

    The automation of the booking process benefits both the participating hoteliers and travelers by simplifying the search and booking process on one easily accessible platform. It allows MOPH and HSS to focus their efforts on maintaining health and safety standard protocols for participating in ASQ properties. Initially, the listed ASQ properties on the platform include those in Bangkok, Chonburi, and Phuket.

    ministry public health department leverage technologies alternative state quarantine
    Dr. Satit Pitutacha, Deputy Minister of Public Health (Centre), Dr. Thongchai Keeratihuttayakorn, Deputy Director-General of the Health Service Support Department (Left), Dr. Tharet Karatnairawiwong, Director General of the Department of Health Services Support (3rd from the right) and Mr. John Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Agoda (3rd from the left) attended a press conference, announcing the collboration between Ministry of Public Health and Department of Health Service Support and Agoda to leverage Agoda’s cutting edge booking platform to further improve accessibility and efficiency for the booking processes of Alternative States Quarantine (ASQ) packages for Thai repatriates and in-bound travelers during COVID-19. This collaboration makes Thailand one of the first countries in the world to digitalize the booking process

    Dr. Satit Pitutacha, Deputy Minister of Public Health: “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every country across the world, in terms of health, society, and the economy. Thailand is lucky to be under the majesty of His Majesty the King and have the strength of professional Thai medical staff, as well as the public health system. The cooperation of all medical personnel, the general public, and public health volunteers has allowed us to control this crisis and become a model in public health, while building a good reputation for the country, which I think is something that we must be proud of together.

    With the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) declared a contagious pandemic under the Communicable Disease Act 2015, the COVID-19 Situation Management Center (Prof. B.C.) stipulated all travelers from abroad be screened, isolated, and quarantined, or quarantined for surveillance, prevention and control in the instance of localized cases of the disease. Therefore, government agencies including the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Public Health worked in close cooperation and collaboration to prepare for and provide a place to detain those traveling from abroad, in accordance with criteria and guidelines for disease control. In the same spirit, today’s announcement is a collaboration between the government and the private sector to help stimulate the Thai economy and help entrepreneurs to generate income.”

    Dr. Tares Krassanairawiwong, Director-General of the Department of Health Service Support: “Alternative State Quarantine: ASQ, is an important mechanism that aims to benefit Thailand in two ways. The first factor is in the prevention and control of the spread of COVID-19, and the second is as a stimulus to help drive the economy by generating income for entrepreneurs. For these hotel entrepreneurs to be part of the ASQ program however, they must pass strict standard checks in six categories from the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Defense. These include safety protocols that ensures on-site personnel fully equipped with medical supplies and training, processes that minimise disruption to the wider community and have an environmental management system to protect and control guests, and thus prevent the spread of COVID-19. Along side these requirements are is the professionalism of our hospitals to support foreign travelers and Thai’s repatriating. ASQ helps to promote the country’s economy with the 113 hotels participating as ASQ properties generating 1.2 billion baht revenue for Thailand to date. ASQ facilities, which allow flexibility to choose where to stay for quarantine, can be one way to attract foreign tourists again from all over the world and generate income for the country.”

    John Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Agoda: “We applaud the Ministry of Public Health and Department of Health Service Support and their forward-thinking on this innovative ASQ project. Agoda will bring its technical expertise to make the ASQ initiative as efficient and accessible to the public as possible while ensuring at the same time that the Ministry can continue to focus on preserving travelers’ and the public’s safety. This type of government and corporate collaboration allows us to deliver the final product as quickly and cost-effectively as possible – which is critical during a crisis like this.

    “Agoda has a team of over 1,000 tech engineers in Bangkok working around the clock on cutting-edge solutions for customers, businesses, and governments across the globe. We strive to innovate and improve the travel experience every day, and technology is at the heart of everything we do, so we are thrilled to be part of this ground-breaking project here in Thailand.”

    The digital booking platform for ASQ is now live (, with more technology partners expected to join the program in the coming months.

  • Travel – SMEs Success Lies In Leveraging Data & Technology To Ease COVID Pressures

    sme technology data covid pressures travel

    Digitalization and innovation are key for SMEs survival as the travel industry emerges from COVID-19’s impact according to a report by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), conducted by Twenty31 Consulting Inc. and supported by Agoda ( revealed at the World Travel Market recently. PATA’s research report “The role of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) in supporting Asia-Pacific SMEs in Recovery” aims to provide insights to benefit small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the hospitality and tourism space that make up a large proportion of travel providers, as they pivot and adapt in the face of COVID-19.

    With the pandemic dramatically changing how and where consumers travel, it is essential for hospitality businesses, especially SMEs, to adapt their operations to thrive within a digital global ecosystem. The report highlights key areas where digital travel platforms and governments can support tourism SMEs in the Asia Pacific region.

    • SMEs are leveraging OTAs’ digital platforms to accelerate recovery. There is a shift in the dynamic of the relationship between SMEs and OTAs, with the latter being acknowledged and increasingly valued as a technology, data and marketing partner. It is vital for SME hospitality providers to understand trends and reach new audiences during these times. SMEs leveraging OTAs can reduce their top-down investment especially around payments features, customer support as well as marketing efforts. OTAs have also expanded opportunities for destination diversification, helping to drive tourism in second and third tier cities. “We have seen a real push for OTAs to do more than simply selling rooms. They are helping us with other services, and this is really helping us forecast our needs and drive more sales.” says a hospitality SME in Thailand.
    • The use of data insights will future proof SMEs as they navigate today’s ever-changing landscape of the travel and tourism industry. OTAs are technology partners that are well placed to help provide SMEs a comprehensive understanding of data insights to enhance their businesses. Data insights can be used to optimize revenue through meta-search, machine learning, artificial intelligence, product diversification and platform centralization. “OTAs are now using AI tech to tailor offers to customers and that is going to be very interesting. This will likely allow SMEs to match our products and services with high-potential consumers and drive better ROI.” says a hospitality SME in Singapore.
    • SMEs call on governments to work with OTAs to boost post-COVID travel recovery. During this crucial recovery period, more private-public collaboration will boost travel confidence, where the local government can draw on the private sector’s commercial expertise to spot and create new opportunities to improve the industry, businesses and lives impacted by COVID, as well as stay relevant in the transforming economic environment. “The government can do more to engage the private sector, especially around decision making and cooperative marketing.” – tour operator SME in Indonesia.

    The study also looks at the changing landscape of the travel and tourism industry and how OTAs have rapidly accelerated the growth in the region where APAC-based OTAs represent more than a third of global gross bookings.

    “Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) play a crucial role in the recovery process, where SMEs can leverage their data and digitize in order to adapt and build long term resiliency. We are optimistic that the industry will eventually recover with governments and private sectors coming together to ensure that no one gets left behind. We look forward to working with our partners, such as Agoda, as we continue to hear from SME operators and how we can advance the discussion around the future of travel and tourism in the Asia Pacific region, one that is sustainable and inclusive for all,” says Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO of Pacific Asia Travel Association.

    “Successful hoteliers use data and technology for price and marketing optimization. Increasingly, many SME tourism enterprises find themselves on the wrong side of the tech moat – unable to do complex data analytics and global marketing in-house. This report shows how SMEs successfully leverage platforms like Agoda to enjoy the benefits of technology to reach laser-targeted audiences in the far corners of the world. Agoda also helps SME hotels participate in several government partnership programs in Asia. SMEs are calling for further collaboration between governments and tech platforms to help revitalize the hard-hit tourism industry.” says Greg Wong, Managing Director of Global Affairs at Agoda.

    Also read: Expat Travel Bonus

  • Asian travelers leading the family travel surge

    Agoda releases findings from its global ‘Family Travel Trends 2018’ research

    24 August 2018: New school semesters may be looming or already underway after the mid-year break, but that doesn’t mean families are packing away their travel gear just yet. In fact, new research from Agoda, one of the world’s fastest growing online travel agents (OTAs), has revealed seven out of 10 families globally take at least two family vacations a year, with Asian travelers taking more than twice as many family trips as their Western peers (five trips a year versus two).

    Asian travelers pattayatoday news holiday migration travel

    The Agoda ‘Family Travel Trends 2018’ survey, conducted by YouGov, found that just 18% of travelers globally take only one family holiday a year, while over 34% have taken more than five family trips in the past year. Asia dominates this multi-holiday trend with a remarkable 77% of travelers from Thailand and 62% from the Philippines, claiming to have taken five or more family breaks in the past year. Conversely, only 7% of British travelers took more than five family trips, with the UK also most likely (34%) to take only one.

    The trend towards shorter, more frequent family vacations

    While family travel is growing globally, details of who with and for how long families take vacations varies across the globe. A 4-7 night stay is the most popular duration for family holidays globally but there are large variances across markets. In the UK, a 4-7 night stay made up 41% of family travel in the past year, compared to only 20% of family travel for Thais. Instead, family vacations of more than 14 nights are taken by almost a third of Thais but only 11% of Malaysians. Vietnamese, Malaysian and Chinese families are most likely of all travelers to take 1-3 night vacations.

    Asian travelers pattayatoday news holiday migration travel

    Asian travelers engage in more multi-generational and extended family trips

    The Agoda ‘Family Travel Trends 2018’ survey also looked into who was included in family vacations and found that while 35% of global travelers have taken a holiday with grandparents, travelers from the UK and Australia are the least likely to have done so, with only 13% and 20% of travelers embarking on them respectively. Thais (66%) and Indonesians (54%) were most likely to have included grandparents in their holiday plans. This trend is also reflected when looking at extended family members with Thais and Indonesians most likely to include siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles in their vacation plans.

    Asian travelers pattayatoday news holiday migration travel

    It is not just family members that the Americans, British, Australians and Chinese don’t travel with, they are also the least likely travelers to go away with other groups of friends, with only 22% of Americans, 23% of Brits, 26% of Australians and 27% of Chinese have done so in the past year. Meanwhile, almost half (48%) of travelers from the Philippines tie up with a group of friends for some of their vacations, closely followed by Vietnamese and Malaysian family travelers at 43% and 40%.

    Hotels still dominate family accommodation preferences

    More people used OTAs (international and local) to book family holidays in the last 12 months according to the findings of the Agoda ‘Family Travel Trends 2018’ survey which also revealed that hotels are still the most popular accommodation for families, followed by holiday homes, B&Bs and all-inclusive resorts. Cost, safety, and activities were the top global considerations for when planning family holidays compared to holidays with non-family or alone.

    Asian travelers pattayatoday news holiday migration travel

    “The family travel segment is growing rapidly and the needs of this group of travelers are unique and diverse,” explained John Brown, CEO, Agoda. “All families have different requirements, which is why we pride ourselves in offering an array of accommodation options from hotels, holiday homes or fairytale castles at a budget that suits them. Furthermore, families can use Agoda’s family-friendly filters to find places with babysitting or kids clubs, additional facilities such as kitchens or to request adjoining rooms, providing a more enjoyable overall booking and travel experience.”

    Quality time with family is the biggest driver for family travel

    With longer working hours and countless distractions from modern living preventing families from spending time with each other on a day-to-day basis, it’s no wonder that travelers globally look forward to the quality family time (68%) the most on family trips. Relaxation (66%) and trying new things (46%) came out as second and third preferences.

    Asian travelers pattayatoday news holiday migration travel

    British and Singaporeans are the most adventurous on family trips. Exploring new cultures as a family travel experience is most popular among these two groups (48% and 46% respectively). Chinese and Thai travelers are the least likely to investigate new cultures on their trips, (both 29%).

    Biggest concerns

    When examining anxieties relating to family travel, concerns about falling sick (36%), the standard of accommodation (21%) and family disagreements (16%) ranked highest for family travelers globally.

    Brits seemingly have the least worries when it comes to family holidays, with nearly a third (27%) saying that they have no concerns at all.

    Agoda ‘Family Travel Trends 2018’ facts for Thailand:

    • 86% of Thai travelers have traveled with their core family in the past year, 66% with their grandparents and/or grandchildren and 33% with their extended family
    • On average, Thai travelers went on eight family trips in the past year
    • More than 14 nights is the most popular duration of Thai family trips
    • Thai travelers look forward to spending quality time with family members (66%), relaxing (63%) and trying new things (36%) the most while on family trips
    • The top three concerns Thais have during family trips are falling sick (31%), the standard of accommodation (24%) and not having enough privacy (13%)


    Survey Methodology: The Agoda ‘Family Travel Trends 2018’ research was conducted by independent market research firm, YouGov between June 19th and 25th 2018. 10,784 respondents were interviewed online and are representative of those who have been on holiday at least once in the past year. Within their countries: UK (1,503), US (642), Australia (883), Singapore (947), Malaysia (1,030), Philippines (1,031), Indonesia (1,082), Vietnam (1,032), Thailand (1,078) and China (1,556).

  • Travel Irritants Revealed

    Agoda releases findings from its global ‘Annoying Travel Habits’ survey and urges travelers to get off their phones and ‘pay attention’


    With the summer holiday season in full swing in Europe and America and another long holiday to celebrate Mother’s Day is just around the corner for Thai travelers, Agoda, one of the fastest growing online travel agents (OTA), has been asking travelers what they think are the most annoying travel habits.

    Noisy travelers (57%), travelers glued to their devices (47%), and those insensitive to cultural nuances (46%) topped the most annoying habits of fellow travelers according to Agoda’s global ‘Annoying Travel Habits’ survey. Mass tour groups and selfie-takers, cited by 36% and 21% respectively, completed the top five irritants.

    Chinese travelers seemingly have the highest tolerance for selfie-takers, with only 12% of Chinese respondents irritated by selfie-takers compared to Australians who are on the other end of the tolerance spectrum with nearly a third (31%) citing holiday selfie-takers as annoying.

    Insensitivity to local culture nuances is more than twice as irritating for Singaporeans, (63%) Filipinos (61%) and Malaysians (60%) as it is for Chinese (21%) and Thai (27%) Travelers. About half of British (54%) and two-fifths of American travelers (41%) are intolerant of this habit.    

    Mobile device addiction

    Almost half (47%) of the global respondents cited travelers spending too much time on their mobile devices as a grievance. Compared to travelers from other countries, the Vietnamese find those glued to their devices the most annoying (59%). Thai travelers, on the other hand, have the most relaxed attitude (31%) towards constant device usage on holiday.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, solo travelers spend nearly two hours a day on their devices when on holiday (117 minutes) – which is 15% more time than when they are traveling with friends (100 minutes) and 26% more time than if they are with family (86 minutes). Americans are the only exception to this trend and on average spend less time on their devices when traveling solo (62 minutes) than when they are with family (66 minutes) or friends (86 minutes).

    Brits are the most engaged travelers when traveling together, limiting their screen time to just over an hour (63 minutes) a day; comparatively Thai travelers spend more than two hours a day (125 minutes) on the phone when they travel with friends or family.

    To encourage travelers to pay attention and really experience new destinations without their faces in their screens, Agoda has launched a ‘Selfie Fail’ campaign comprising of cheeky listiclesand a video montage highlighting the pitfalls of smartphone dependence. Styled in the format of ‘epic fail’ videos, Australian comedian Ozzyman narrates footage of real travelers getting into silly accidents and situations as a result of paying more attention to their devices than to their surroundings.

    Thailand’s ‘Annoying Travel Habits’ facts:

    Noisy travelers (58%), mass tour groups (41%) and travelers glued to their devices (31%) are the most annoying for Thai travelers
    “Tolerance for mass tour groups decreases with age for Thais: those ages 18 to 24 are the least annoyed (35%) and those aged 55 and older are the most annoyed (50%)”
    Thais spend over two hours a day on their devices when traveling with family (124 minutes) and friends (126 minutes)
    Source: agoda
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