What it does: Provides travel-booking services across South-East Asia.
Staff stats: Over 4000 employees across 30 countries.
Best known for: Being one of the fastest-growing travel booking platforms.
Financials: Recently made an estimated US 1.2 billion of its parent company’s 14.5 billion.
The good: High growth; friendly culture.
The not so good: Fast pace can be jarring.
Hiring grads with degrees in: All disciplines, but computer science and UX design are favourable.
Agoda was founded in 2005 by two entrepreneurs in Phuket, Thailand. It began with the goal of providing better travel deals for customers, as there were many things that could go wrong in organising trips manually. The prospect of tailoring their service to the needs of varied customers was attractive to accommodation providers, allowing for smooth partnerships and a successful launch. It started by partnering with a single hotel, and then later several more throughout Thailand.
By 2004, they had expanded across the Asia-Pacific, and the company that was then known as ‘PlanetHoliday’ became Agoda, establishing their headquarters in Singapore. But despite their new location, they loved Thailand simply due to how receptive hotel owners were to new ideas that got customers through the door.
Today, Agoda is responsible for travel arrangements across the world, from across the Asia Pacific into Paris or New York. They continue moving quickly to solve new travel problems to this day.
Agoda offers opportunities to work with a fairly international, diverse set of colleagues. The company has a ‘move fast and break things’ mentality, which you will adopt in your time here. As a fresh graduate, you’ll gain exposure to a rapidly changing work environment and take on the role of a specialist in accommodation services, customer experience, marketing or software. The company currently leads in its sector and is part of a wider conglomerate specialising in travel booking services, comprised of companies that can be transferred between.
This way of doing things may not be your thing. Daily routines are practically non-existent and you’ll be required to swiftly evaluate new methods of delivering services and meeting deadlines constantly. Fresh out of university, this may be a hectic change of pace. There’s also little in the way of formal training opportunities. Agoda employees starting their careers rely mostly on experiential learning to develop. It’s OK to ask colleagues and bosses for help, but for the most part you’ll have to direct your own learning.
Beyond your first job here, there’s also not really a structured career path. What you’re trading off at Agoda is the sense of a promotion track for greater autonomy in your job. So if you’re confident you can distinguish yourself, be independent and take initiative regularly, this shouldn’t be an issue. But if you’re just looking for a chance to learn without going too far out of your comfort zone, there may be better career options.
Agoda primarily uses a selection of entry-level ‘specialist’ positions in place of a formal graduate program, but there are several ways in as a fresh grad. Simply head on over to their website and pick a role that sounds interesting.
The rest of the recruitment process can be a bit different for each role, so we’ll use the ‘accommodation services specialist’ as an example of what to expect. This is a common graduate-level, client-facing role, which you can enter basically regardless of which degree you completed provided you’re bilingual.
The process starts with a call with HR, featuring all-too-familiar questions, like why are you interested in the company, or where you see yourself in five years. You know, the usual suspects! This will soon be followed by an online competency test. If you’re successful, you’ll have two more interviews; one will be over video chat and the other in person. In these, they’ll likely give you a variety of different workplace scenarios and how you’d solve them. If they like your answers, you’ll just have one more check-in with HR to provide your personal details, then you’re in!
Agoda seeks to connect customers with affordable accommodation through numerous partnerships worldwide. While it calls South-East Asia home, it aspires to be a go-to travel service for people around the world.