Covid-19 pandemic has hit the hospitality industry hard. Thousands of hotels in Indonesia had to close their business, either temporarily or permanently. Others developed new strategies to keep going, while they continue to meet customers’ changing travel needs.

A recent survey in Indonesia by digital travel platform, Agoda, found out that Indonesian travelers are looking to enhance their travel experience and demanding additional perks during their hotel stay. One in four Indonesians consider their accommodation as their tourism destination, more than just a place to stay, and almost 30% of them use online travel agents like to search for deals.

To help hotels meet these new traveler demands, Agoda recently introduced a new feature, Agoda Special Offers (ASO), so hotels can offer value-added benefits such as F&B credits and experiences with their rooms on Agoda’s platform and reach its customers.

“Agoda is committed to working with hotel partners in Indonesia to support the recovery of the travel and tourism industry, by helping them optimize their exposure to domestic travelers and help them to prepare for the international recovery,” said Gede Gunawan, Senior Country Director Indonesia, Agoda. “We would like to share stories of three hotels that have managed to cope well during pandemic by optimizing Agoda mainstay features, specifically Agoda Special Offers.”

 Le Eminence Hotel: Attracting Local Market with Agoda Mainstay Features

 Le Eminence is a five-star hotel and resort in Puncak area, West Java. Established in 2016, the hotel has 379 rooms and offers more spacious rooms with exotic views of paddy fields, the river and Mount Pangrango. Before the pandemic, Le Eminence was popular with travelers from the Middle East, as well as travelers from neighboring countries.

But the pandemic has changed everything. Le Eminence’s occupancy rate drastically dropped by 70-80% during the early days of pandemic. On their worst day, they only had 10 guests. “The hotel occupancy rate really dropped because our main market is travelers from the Middle East,” said Robby Saimima, Director Operation Eminence Hospitality Service.

The situation forced Le Eminence to shift their strategy to target domestic travelers. Le Eminence has not stopped its operations, nor terminated any employment since the pandemic. Robby said their decision has encouraged employees to provide even better service.

Their shift to domestic market was supported with digital strategy, including leveraging online travel agents (OTA), such as Agoda, as an effective distribution channel. Le Eminence has been working with Agoda since it first opened, and has implemented all promotion features of the platform, which have proven effective, even during the pandemic.

One such product is Agoda Special Offers. The feature helps Le Eminence offers interesting packages for domestic travelers. Unlike other hotels that massively cut their prices, Le Eminence instead offered value-added stay packages that include breakfast, massage, recreation, snacks and other perks.

“Coupled with Agoda’s products for members such as last-minute booking benefits and 10% discount for booking a room onsite, we manage to reach spontaneous travelers, and families looking for perks but wish to survey the facilities before making their booking,” said Ratih Afsarina, Director Sales Eminence Hotel.

This strategy to partner Agoda and leverage its various products, international brand with high exposure, easy-to-use dashboards and systems, supportive account management team, has proven effective, with Agoda contributing 30-40% to Le Eminence’s revenue.

“Agoda is highly helpful for us, more than other distribution channels. It not only helped us to increase revenue, but also constantly reviewed our performance and given us insights that we need for marketing and strategy drafting,” said Ratih.

The Jayakarta Jakarta Hotel: Agoda Helps to Recover Business

The Jayakarta Jakarta Hotel is one of the pioneers in the hotel industry in Indonesia. Established in 1974, the four-star hotel is located in Mangga Besar, a strategic area that connects different areas in Jakarta. The hotel caters mainly to local travelers, as well as expatriates and business travelers.

However, the pandemic that hit the hotel industry also affected the Jayakarta Jakarta Hotel with drastic drop in occupancy rates. The guest numbers were limited, and with restrictions on events and meetings, the hotel’s revenue declined. “Many of our programs and targets that were planned before the pandemic were not realized,” said Rian.

However, Jayakarta Jakarta Hotel survives. It managed to retain all its employees and has adapted to the situation. One of the hotel’s survival strategies is optimizing its partnership with online travel agents (OTA), to create digital branding and increase occupancy.

Jayakarta Jakarta Hotel has collaborated with Agoda since mid-2017 to reach out to new customers, especially expatriates and millennials. Agoda supports the hotel by managing its promotions and new campaigns, and the advantages of leveraging the digital travel platform showed, especially during the pandemic with the increase of room night production, among others.

Jayakarta Jakarta Hotel took part in various Agoda campaigns, including Payday Sale, Super Wednesday, Weekend Promo, Agoda Special Offers, and the  latest September Double Sensation.  Agoda Special Offers allowed Jayakarta Jakarta Hotel to easily package and offer different bundle deals, such as buy 1 get 1 promotion, early check-in and late check-out, to target different types of guests.

“In the digital era nowadays, clearly it is imperative for hotelier to leverage digital platform for their business, and one of the biggest one for us is Agoda, who’s contributed to our total occupancy by at least 40 to 55 per cent,” said Rahadian Firmansyah, General Manager, The Jayakarta SP Hotel & Spa Jakarta.

The Papandayan Bandung: Agoda has great products tailored for Indonesian travelers

 The Papandayan in Bandung is a five-star hotel with 172 rooms and is popular among families for its big spacious rooms, its vast tropical garden and enticing facilities. The hotel was established in 1997 and renovated in 2011.

During the pandemic, The Papandayan’s revenue drastically dropped by 30 to 40 per cent, depending on the government’s social restriction regulations at the time. However, the hotel kept its operations going and sought out new market segments that were created during the pandemic.

The hotel put a lot of focus on hygiene measures. The Papandayan has CHSE certification; they conduct antigen tests or PCR tests for all employees and their families regularly, as well as using UVC technology for sterilizing and sanitizing all facilities, especially the rooms.

The hotel also recognized the importance of digital marketing, and that an increasing number of customers make their travel bookings through online travel agents (OTA).

“And Agoda is one of the top three contributors to our hotel’s revenue and it has been stable,” said Lusi Susanti, Director of Sales and Marketing The Papandayan Hotel. “This is because Agoda is smart in targeting the domestic market, and attracting local travelers to book rooms with different promotions and offers.”

The Papandayan has participated in various Agoda campaigns, including Agoda Mega Deal Trust, Weekend Happy Hours, and Agoda Special Offers. The Agoda Special Offers program has not only helped improve the hotel occupancy but also to optimize food & beverage contribution to the hotel’s revenue. Agoda Special Offers has helped the hotel increase revenue by 50 to 60 per cent, The Papandayan targets to increase the percentage further.

“The Average Room Rate we are able to achieve from Agoda is one of the highest. Agoda has been a good supporter and good contributor. Therefore, we hope we can continue to do well together through the pandemic, and work with Agoda on more promotions to increase conversion,” said Lusi.