Success Crafted

Agoda: From Southeast Asian Startup to Global Travel Giant

Planning a trip has become a lot easier with the help of travel-related metasearch engines, and one of the most popular ones in the market is Agoda. From accommodations to cars and flights, Agoda has become a reliable platform for travelers across the globe.

In this article, we will explore the history and success of Agoda, how it started, its expansion, global reach, and partnership.

Overview of Agoda

Agoda is a travel-related metasearch engine that offers a vast selection of accommodations, including hotels, resorts, and apartments, as well as car rentals and flights. It was founded by Robert Rosenstein and Michael Kenny in Singapore in 2005 and is now owned by Booking Holdings, which also owns, Kayak, and Priceline.

Agoda’s primary function is to aggregate data from various travel websites, compare prices, and offer an all-in-one platform that saves travelers time, effort, and money. It operates in 37 different languages, catering to a wider audience across the globe.

Agoda is known for its user-friendly interface, reliable customer service, and competitive prices.

Founding and Acquisition of Agoda

Agoda was founded in Singapore in 2005 by two American entrepreneurs, Robert Rosenstein and Michael Kenny. At the time, Southeast Asia was booming with tourism, and there was a gap in the market for an efficient online travel portal.

The two entrepreneurs identified this opportunity and set out to create a platform that would offer a wide range of accommodations at competitive prices. In 2007, Priceline, the American travel booking company, acquired Agoda for $210 million.

This acquisition allowed Agoda to expand its services to new markets, and Priceline was able to establish a presence in Southeast Asia through Agoda’s platform. Later on, Priceline changed its name to Booking Holdings, and Agoda became one of its subsidiaries.

Early Years and Expansion

After the acquisition, Agoda’s success skyrocketed. Michael Kenny continued as the CEO of Agoda until 2010, and during his tenure, he led the company’s expansion to new markets.

Agoda’s early years were focused on building strong partnerships with hotels and resorts in Thailand, Malaysia, and other parts of Southeast Asia. Soon after, Agoda launched several new services, including its own hotel management company, Arcadia Hotel Group, and a tour operator company, Tropical Trails.

They also acquired two other travel companies – and – to expand their reach and capabilities.

Global Reach and Partnership

Agoda’s success continued with the departure of Robert Rosenstein as the CEO in 2013. Under the leadership of the new CEO, Darren Huston, Agoda experienced explosive growth.

In 2016, Agoda surpassed the 1 million-property milestone, and today, the company offers over 3 million properties in more than 200 countries across the globe. Agoda’s exceptional growth was fueled by its extensive partnerships with other travel providers, including airlines, car rental companies, and tour operators.

Furthermore, Agoda’s parent company, Booking Holdings, invested heavily in the platform to improve its user interface, reliability, and customer service.


In conclusion, Agoda has become one of the leading metasearch engines in the travel industry. Its success can be attributed to its excellent user interface, competitive prices, and extensive partnerships.

From its origins in Southeast Asia to its global reach today, Agoda has continued to innovate and expand, helping travelers save time, effort, and money. With its meticulously curated selection of accommodations, car rentals, and flights, Agoda has certainly made traveling a lot easier.

Competitors of Agoda

Agoda is well-respected and trusted in the travel industry for its top-notch services. However, it is not the only company that provides travelers with such convenience.

Many other travel booking platforms are vying for the same share of the market, with each offering a unique advantage to users.

Overview of Competitors

Agoda’s major competitors include some of the industry’s biggest names, such as,



Google Travel,



trivago, and

OYO. Although they operate under different models, branding, and geographic regions, they all offer a broad selection of accommodations, flights, and car rental services. is one of the leading competitors of Agoda, with a wide range of hotels, apartments, and accommodations in over 220 countries.

Expedia also provides a range of accommodation options, but its services extend beyond just hotels and apartments, allowing users to book flights, car rentals, and other travel-related services.


Airbnb provides an unparalleled apartment or house rental experience, allowing guests to stay at unique destinations personalized for them.

Google Travel, the newest addition to the list of competitors, integrates Google Maps, flight, and hotel bookings.

Vrbo differs from its competitors in that it only focuses on vacation rentals.

TripAdvisor offers its customers free travel advice and reviews, allowing them to make informed decisions while booking their accommodation and other travel-related services. offers users Captain Obvious, a joking campaign from Hollywood actor Robert Klippel.

Trivago is known for its metasearch engine and expanded capabilities. Lastly,

OYO distinguishes itself from competitors by having a franchise model, which helps it have control over the services’ quality, price point, and standardization.

Competitor Analysis

It is essential to analyze the competitors of Agoda to understand their strategies, funding, and success, offering insights useful for the travel industry. was established in 1996 under the name and later merged with Bookings Online.

It was acquired by Priceline in 2005 and now offers more than 860,000 hotels and apartments. Priceline merged with the parent company of Agoda in 2007, aimed at providing an easy-to-use platform for travelers worldwide. offers a user-friendly interface and affordable prices, together with its extensive global reach, making it tough competition for Agoda.


Expedia is a sub-division of Microsoft, created in 1996, and then acquired by IAC. It later evolved into

Expedia Group, serving as a platform for a wide range of travel-related services.

In 2019,

Expedia Group generated $8.6 billion in revenue, overtaking Booking Holdings, making it the largest online travel agency in the US.

Expedia offers user-friendly websites and mobile apps, which are well-suited for novice and experienced travelers.


Airbnb, established in 2008, is now the leading apartment booking platform, with over 7 million property listings in 220 countries worldwide. The company started as a couch surfing solution and soon evolved into a tech giant that revolutionized the accommodation booking sector.

Airbnb has faced a series of regulatory challenges and legal battles in recent years, but its popularity among traveling millennials shows no sign of waning. The company has an estimated revenue of $6 billion in 2021, and a valuation of $90 billion in 2021.

Google Travel

As part of Google’s rebranding of its travel services, Google Flights, and Google Hotels merged to create

Google Travel. Google acquired ITA software in 2010, which it used to create its travel platform.

Google Travel aggregates data from various online travel agencies, including and

Expedia. In addition, it provides users with access to its real-time price-tracking service, providing notifications of any changes in price.


Established in 1995,

Vrbo provides vacation rental properties to travelers worldwide.

Vrbo was acquired by HomeAway in 2006, who later integrated it with


Vrbo stands out from its competitors with its user-friendly interface, secure payment options, and a large variety of vacation rental properties, making it an excellent option for discerning travelers and those looking for specialized accommodations. The company generated around $2 billion in revenue in 2019, which was 20% more than 2018.


TripAdvisor is a travel review site established in 2000, offering travelers travel advice and reviews, with listings of over 9 million properties in 49 countries. The company’s primary revenue comes from advertising, but it also offers instant booking options for hotels and activities.

TripAdvisor has 2,500 employees and is known for its informative travel guides and user-generated content. was created in 2002 by David Litman and Robert Deiner of the Hotel Reservations Network.

In 2003, the company was acquired by IAC, which also owns

Expedia. The company has established its brand through clever and entertaining marketing campaigns, including the Captain Obvious campaign. is known for its attractive prices and helpful customer service, making it a popular choice for budget-conscious travelers.


trivago is a metasearch engine that compares prices on over 1 million hotels and offers more than 190,000 booking sites to help users find the best deals. The company was established in 2005 and was acquired by

Expedia in 2017.

trivago generated revenue of over 361 million in 2019, a considerable increase from the previous year.


OYO is an Indian hospitality franchise model and is an essential player globally. The company currently has around 1.2 million rooms available across 80 countries.

Its business model is unique by providing affordable and standardized housing through franchise agreements. As of June 2021,

OYO had raised $3.1 billion in funding and is projected to IPO soon.


Agoda continues to be one of the leading players in the travel industry, and by analyzing its competitors’ strategies, it enables insight into expansion, innovation, and service quality. By offering travelers with outstanding customer service, comprehensive online booking services, and competitive prices, Agoda continues to scale beyond Southeast Asia and move towards a dominant global position.

Honorable Mentions

In addition to the well-established competitors of Agoda and its industry, there are many other players in the travel market that are worth mentioning. These entities provide travelers with a more personalized, competitive, and cost-effective experience while booking their flights, hotels, and accommodations.

Other Competitors

Hotwire and Priceline are two other notable competitors of Agoda that have been around for a significant amount of time. Hotwire offers exclusive deals for flights, hotels, and car rentals by hiding the companies’ names, providing low prices to travelers who are willing to take a chance.

Priceline was one of the first online platforms to offer opaque travel bookings, where the customers can only see the results after making a non-refundable payment. They offer hotels, flight booking services, car rentals, and vacation packages across North America and other parts of the globe.

Travelocity is a travel booking company that offers a range of travel-related services, from flights to hotels, vacation packages, car rentals, cruises, and activities. Owned by

Expedia Group, the company offers unique deals and competitive pricing, including their infamous wander wisely reward program.

On the other hand, many hotels have established their online platforms and set prices that are competitive with online travel companies. Popular hotel chains such as Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott International have their booking websites that allow travelers to book directly and have more control over their reservations’ details.

Flight Comparison Sites

Kiwi and Skyscanner have established themselves as leading travel search engines, specializing in flight search and comparison services. Kiwi allows users to search for and book flights with the help of its easy-to-use platform, which includes a “nomad” feature that lets users choose multiple destinations and a “nomadical” feature comparing low-cost carriers.

Meanwhile, Skyscanner aggregates flight data from various airlines to help users find the cheapest flights to their destination. Many such comparison sites are expanding into accommodation and hotel bookings, thus posing competition to Agoda.

One significant advantage flight comparison sites offer is the ability to book the flight directly on the platform, reducing the need to visit an airline’s website. This service, together with the lowest fees and free cancellations, makes travel booking a lot easier and more convenient for users.


In conclusion, the travel market is wide and varied, and many players provide travelers with an array of options to choose from. Online travel agencies such as Hotwire and Priceline, and travel booking platforms such as Travelocity, offer low prices and exclusive deals, making it easier for budget-conscious travelers.

Meanwhile, direct online booking platforms for popular hotel chains provide customers with high-end, reliable accommodation at competitive prices. Additionally, flight comparison sites such as Kiwi and Skyscanner offer an easy and convenient way for travelers to search, compare, and book their flights, together with accommodation and hotel bookings, making the travel search experience simpler and more effective.

As the world prepares to open up after the pandemic, more travel companies will emerge, and existing ones will expand their services, posing more competition for Agoda and the other travel companies. Ensuring the best customer experience, protecting users’ data, and offering the best prices will be critical for travel companies to keep up and remain relevant in the highly competitive travel sector.

In conclusion, Agoda has established itself as a prominent travel-related metasearch engine, offering a wide range of accommodations, flights, and car rentals. Its success can be attributed to its user-friendly interface, competitive prices, and extensive partnerships.

However, it faces strong competition from other industry giants such as,


Airbnb, and

Google Travel. These competitors offer unique advantages and cater to specific traveler preferences.

Additionally, there are honorable mentions like Hotwire and Priceline in the online travel agency space, as well as flight comparison sites like Kiwi and Skyscanner. The travel industry is dynamic and constantly evolving, with new players entering the market and existing ones expanding their services.

To thrive, travel companies must prioritize customer experience, price competitiveness, and innovation. As travelers, it is crucial to explore various platforms and leverage the competition to find the best deals and create memorable travel experiences.

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