Increase Response Rate on Agoda through Optimizing Inquiries

img Adiel Ananda | January 4, 2023

Introduction

Hi my name is Karisma, I am a student at Universitas Jember majoring in english language. I work as an Online Sales and Reservation at Bukit Vista and is responsible to ensure our 50,000 guests coming from all over the world have an incredible experience. During my time here I have learned and increased my skills of persuasion, hospitality, and negotiation and get to know Bukit Vista reservation team to guide our guests to have a delightful travel accommodations and experiences.

Karisma enjoys to travel just like our guests
Reservation team at work

Background

Bukit Vista is a property management company that works with property  owners to market and manage their properties. With all its technological innovations,  Bukit Vista is able to simplify the process of operational activities (Sales &  Reservation, Hosting, and Air Support).
In its operational activities, Bukit Vista uses several travel marketplaces such  as Airbnb, Booking.com and Agoda. Bukit Vista’s profile in each of these travel  marketplaces greatly affects the quality and reputation of the company. One of the  points in it that is very influential is the response rate. The seller’s response to  inquiries is indeed the number one reason why customers choose the winning seller. A  good response rate can also increase customers’ willingness to book the properties.  However, the role of sales response speed in dealing with customers across different  touch points is often underestimated. In fact, if a company has a good response rate,  the company’s reputation will automatically improve.
With the dynamic operational work (Sales & Reservation, Hosting, and Air  Support) of Bukit Vista with hundreds of guests checking in every day, maintaining  response speed is quite challenging. Therefore, we came up with a project idea to  improve the response speed of the operational team. After checking the response rate  in each travel marketplace, it turns out that BukitVista’s travel marketplace that has  the lowest response rate is Agoda. This fairly low response rate is in line with the  number of reservations successfully converted from the platform. With the low response rate, we were interested in further investigating why this happened.

 

girl-office-guest-support
Bali Villa Management Services - Online Guest Support Service

Identifying the problem

After some observations and data collection, it was found that Agoda is a  travel marketplace that is often deprioritized. The operations team prioritizes travel  marketplaces Airbnb and Booking.com because more confirmed reservations come  from there. Due to the assumption that our Agoda travel marketplace has less  influence, the operations team often underestimates it. As a result, many inquiries that  come into Agoda are either abandoned, not replied to, or replied to a few days later.
Because of the small workload, employees who handle Agoda’s travel  marketplace also handle other platforms such as Booking.com and Manychat. I also  interviewed some employees who have handled Agoda along with other platforms,  they admitted that one of the reasons why inquiries from Agoda cannot be replied to  quickly is because there is no notification when an inquiry comes in. They also  admitted that it was very inconvenient if they had to keep opening the Agoda website  every minute just to check if there was an incoming inquiry.
I documented the pain points along with some inquiry samples with low  response rate and discussed it with the Product Development team. I also suggested  creating a tool that could connect Agoda with the Slack channel that the operations  team opens every day to communicate. That way, we can track all inquiries that come  into Agoda by simply opening the slack channel. With the help of a powerful  integration platform called Integromat, finally, the Agoda-Inquiries channel can be  released and put into use.
Integromat
With this tool, the operations team that handles Agoda’s travel marketplace  doesn’t need to always open Agoda’s website just to make sure that there are incoming  inquiries or not. All they have to do is wait for the notification that comes to the  Agoda-Inquiries channel. However, they need to turn on the “Get Notifications for All  Messages” feature, that’s all!

After Agoda-Inquiries being released, employees and interns started to benefit  from the notifications coming into the Agoda-Inquiries channel. In the midst of busy  operational work, employees and interns who handle Agoda’s travel marketpalce on  their shift only need to subscribe to the channel to get notifications that there are  incoming messages from guests and potential guests.
 
The results of using Agoda-Inquiries can be seen from the rapid response of  the operational team in answering incoming messages to PT Bukit Vista Nusantara’s  Agoda Online Travel Agent. As seen in the picture below, the speed of replying to the  operational team is 1 minute. This speed was never found before the Agoda Inquiries  channel released.
Agoda-Inquiries might not be a big project, but a simple tool like this  will be very useful for the operations team. And also, the bonus is, this tool can make  it easier for supervisors to do inspections because inquiries that have been replied to,  can be marked with a check-list ✅. With this attempt to improve the response rate, we  hope to increase the number of inquiry conversions into bookings. Increasing booking revenues to our partners and ensuring our guests have a delightful experience.

Inspiring project right? We always appreciate our Vistans and Visterns, who have Inspired Delight and created an impact for our employee, guests, and partners. We value their talents and see them as a precious asset to our company.

Interested in joining us transform the tourism and hospitality industry?
Contact us at our careers page and see how you can make an impact here also

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