Agoda Expands Non-Hotel Listings for Tourists Living Like Locals

(Bloomberg) -- More tourists to Asia are opting to stay in privately owned apartments even when five-star hotel rooms are available for as little as $100 a night, according to online travel booking platform Agoda Services Co.

Agoda, part of Booking Holdings Inc., is seeking more non-hotel accommodation choices for travelers as many want to live like locals during their trips, Chief Executive Officer John Brown said in an interview in Bangkok.

“A place like Bangkok where five-star hotels here often cost $100-$150 per night -- even here, people say I want the experience of living in an apartment,” he said. "Making sure we have a homes product or an apartment product is super important."

More from Bloomberg's ASEAN Business Summit 2018

Customers booking non-hotel accommodation are growing about 30 percent to 40 percent faster than people booking hotels, according to Agoda. Highly valued startup Airbnb Inc. is credited with kicking off the recent trend of renting homes during holidays rather than staying in hotels.

Agoda was set up more than a decade ago and expanded in Asia before being acquired by Booking Holdings.

Greater China is one of the fastest-growing markets for Agoda, and the region continues to offer a sizable untapped market. Only about 8.7 percent of Chinese citizens hold passports, which is an indicator of the growth that is yet to come, Brown said.

Still, China is a “very complicated and competitive” market where companies are “spending huge amounts of money” to compete for market share, Brown said in a separate interview with Bloomberg Television.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.