Agoda CEO: Customer Support in India Needs Work

Agoda CEO Skift India Summit 2024

Skift Take

Omri Morgenshtern says India has a problem when it comes to partners overbooking hotels.

Omri Morgenshtern, CEO of Agoda, is confident the online travel agency can rapidly expand across India but says it needs to work even harder on “localization” efforts to do so. For Morgenshtern, localization means everything from more varied payment options, language options, and better ground support for customers facing problems.

He said at Skift India Summit 2024: “Heavily localization is a focus. We look to bridge the gap for everyone on the ground. Say, we can sell a hotel in Japan to an Indian customer as if they were in Tokyo. Our point of view, if you want to cater to the outbound Indian traveler, you’ve got to localize. They want to pay with the options they are used to; they want customer support they are used to.”

“India needs a lot of localization.”

A particular gripe of Morgenshtern’s at the moment is on support for Indian customers. He said on stage that customers booking hotels in India through Agoda are finding their room wasn’t actually booked three or four times more often than any other market Agoda serves.

The CEO revealed: “The worst thing for any traveler is when they go to a hotel and their room isn’t there. Our numbers for those situations are very, very low, but in India, it tends to be three or four times higher. Certain partners, it can be 10 times higher. Part of that is due to overbooking. There’s a lot of that behavior we need to support against.”

Morgenshtern became Agoda CEO in 2022 and was COO before. Morgenshtern was earlier the co-founder and CEO of Israel-based Qlika, a startup specializing in online marketing optimization, which Booking Holdings acquired in 2014.

This is to say, he is a tech-focused leader, so much so that he said Agoda is the industry leader in certain travel tech optimizations.

“The faster and stronger you are with tech, the more value you can bring to consumers,” he said. “We are obsessed with tech. Agoda has a lot to offer in the tech space.”

“Agoda is probably the best price intelligence agency on the planet [for travel]. Knowing price intelligence is a tech game. We are price obsessed.”

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