Indonesia largest market for budget travel in Southeast Asia: RedDoorz CEO - Tourism Indonesia


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Indonesia largest market for budget travel in Southeast Asia: RedDoorz CEO

A misty morning at a tea plantation is pictured in Ciwidey, Bandung regency, West Java. Other than Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta are said to be the company's largest markets. (Shutterstock/File)
Thanks to its young population, well-performing economy and high demand for domestic travel, Indonesia offers the biggest opportunity among other Southeast Asian countries for affordable online hotel booking platform RedDoorz.

"[Indonesia] is our most exciting market; the largest in Southeast Asia. Three things are happening at the same time: the country is doing very well economically; there is a young population that loves to travel; and the government has a vision to promote domestic tourism and destinations," shared RedDoorz founder and CEO Amit Saberwal during a recent interview with The Jakarta Post.

Very mobile-driven, the young population serves as an important segment for the company. "They need accommodation that is very good in quality but not very expensive. They want to book it online so everything has to be easy to find, easily priced," said Saberwal, who was born and brought up in India and whose hospitality experience includes stints at New Delhi-based The Park Hotels and online travel agency MakeMyTrip.

Starting off in Singapore in 2015 before landing in Indonesia, and later followed by branches in the Philippines and Vietnam, RedDoorz currently has 330 employees -- 270 of whom are based in Indonesia, managing around 500 properties across 20 cities.

"All properties are operated by property owners. Using RedDoorz, the properties have access to technology that allows them to price at the right price -- because like an airline, prices keep changing, sometimes it's high, sometimes it's low based on demand. Rooms are advertised online through our app, which accepts payments using credit cards, bank payments and ATM payments. All aspects of distribution are taken care of by us," said Saberwal.

To maintain quality, the properties are given a constantly moving score based on ratings from guests after their stay; reviews given on Google, TripAdvisor or other platforms; and certain daily actions are required by RedDoorz.

"When the property is doing well, it will be rated accordingly. Property owners can see the scores; when it starts dipping, we will go and inform the owners and their employees on what they should be doing correctly based on the situation," said Saberwal.

Among the basic training provided to the hotel staff are how to greet customers, make the bed, clean the bathroom and basic English.

"Part of our mission is to make sure overall human resources and property standards are high. We are in 20 cities in Indonesia, including small cities, where many people cannot speak English, but international customers are coming more and more to Indonesia," said Saberwal.

Other than Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta are said to be the company's largest markets.

"Most of our customers are Indonesians, but in places like Yogyakarta and Bali, international customers are coming in. So we need to teach the staff basic English and hospitality standards. Many of these people have never had formal training. We want to help them improve their education so they can get better jobs in better hotels in the future. It's a holistic approach."

Prior to cooperating with a property, Saberwal said they look for what their customers are looking for.

"We figured out that apart from great price, customers look for free Wi-Fi -- this is the number one thing they look for. Also, mineral water in the room, white clean linen so they can sleep well, a television, clean bathroom and toiletries of good quality. Fundamentally, a property has to provide all that to customers. If they're not of that standard, they have to upgrade themselves to that standard."

As Southeast Asia is said to have hundreds of thousands of budget properties, the company is optimistic that it will be able to grow to 1500 properties by 2019.

"That's our short-term plan. Our long-term plan is to go much deeper into the ecosystem of Indonesian hospitality and technology, such as enhancing our loyalty program. We also believe as our customers evolve from being very young, 25 to 35 years old, they become young professionals. Hence there'll be opportunities to have more brands and technology in the system. It's an evolutionary process." (JakartaPost)

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