July 17, 2024

Agoda CEO: Insights on seamless booking and positive start in 2024

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Omri Morgenshtern, Agoda CEO, forecasts a transformative year for travel in 2024, citing trends like visa-free access and AI innovations.

Omri Morgenshtern, the CEO of the digital travel platform Agoda, anticipates that 2024 holds significant promise for the travel industry, based on the positive trends observed in the first month of the year. Speaking at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2024 (ATF) in Laos on January 26, Morgenshtern highlighted the energetic start to the new year, building on the momentum from 2023, where tourism took center stage.

Reflecting on the previous year, 2023 demonstrated robust growth in the travel industry, particularly in Asia, where Agoda has established a strong presence. Morgenshtern pointed out, “Asia, bouncing back swiftly post-COVID, witnessed the highest Year-on-Year growth among Booking Holding brands, including Agoda.” Notable success stories included the popularity of Japan as an international destination and the emergence of South Korea and India as influential outbound travel markets.

Post ATF, Morgenshtern expresses heightened optimism for 2024, citing markets actively promoting tourism campaigns and engaging discussions on how travelers are leveraging innovative technologies amid reduced travel restrictions. The Agoda CEO outlines five trends expected to shape the travel industry in 2024:

Acceleration of visa-free travel: Tourism takes center stage for many markets, leading to a wave of visa easements. Morgenshtern predicts relaxed visa requirements, similar to Indian travelers enjoying visa-free access to destinations like Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia, inspiring other markets to follow suit.

Increased focus on connected travel bookings: Travel providers aim to simplify bookings by seamlessly integrating flights, hotels, experiences, and activities. The goal is to offer a comprehensive travel concierge service within a single interface, catering to the growing demand for flexibility.

Enhanced assistance from AI: GenAI continues to be a significant opportunity in 2024, with AI supporting various aspects of the travel business. Morgenshtern envisions short to medium-term developments in AI as particularly exciting.

Rise of B2B loyalty programs: B2B loyalty programs are expected to have a greater impact on travel in 2024, playing a role in driving category growth. Travelers express interest in earning rewards for wellness behaviors and sustainable practices.

Emergence of travel fintech: The intersection of fintech and travel is reshaping how consumers manage finances during travel. Fintech solutions facilitate seamless payments, especially in cross-border travel, and the proliferation of QR payments. Private sector innovation is seen as a key driver in accelerating this trend.

Morgenshtern concludes by emphasizing that with more frictionless visa experiences and technology playing an increasingly significant role in travel decisions, bookings, and payments, 2024 promises to be a transformative year for the industry, with Agoda at the forefront of this journey.

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