Booking Holdings has stated that it is looking to align its brands. Specifically, in Asia, consumers have made it overtly clear that they want the Booking.com brand, Agoda, to be more like its parent brand, in both feel and how it functions as a travel booking platform.
Among them are homestay owners and hoteliers who have disconnected from Agoda, yet say the Asian online travel agency still hangs on to them, like a girlfriend or boyfriend that refuses to leave. That’s because although they no longer want to work with Agoda, Agoda still lists their properties and, if these properties have a contract with Booking.com, is still able to book them.
Agoda is thus being dubbed “Hotel California” privately by some suppliers, thanks to the line from the Eagles hit song, “You can check out anytime you like, But you can never leave.”
This all begs the question: Why wouldn’t homestays and hotels work with two sisters instead of one, which would expand their client reach? And why it is that Agoda is the one that seems to be less favored in its own Asian region than its sister of European roots?
Most homestays and hotels interviewed for this article declined to speak openly, but discussions on “How can I remove my property from Agoda?” — on Booking.com Partner Hub itself — or in a closed Airbnb Professional Hosts Group on Facebook, to which Skift was invited, raise a few points.
When approached by Skift, Agoda says suppliers are free to add or remove inventory and that it puts significant effort into delivering best-in-class experience for customers.
Homeowners and hotels, however, say they resent being forced to work with a platform against their will. Beyond that overarching sentiment, however, there are real issues.
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