Our values, explained by Agodans

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Since Agoda was founded in 2005, we’ve grown from a company of two people to over 7,000 employees from all walks of life. As we continue to grow and build travel for the world, Agoda’s company values help unify us across locations, languages, and teams. They’re at the heart of our culture and how we do things at Agoda, evolving alongside us as we continue our journey in the fast-changing world of travel.

Discover how these values inspire five of Agoda’s leaders.

Do things the right way

We do what’s right, while delivering results. Integrity includes always being respectful with ourselves, our colleagues, and our customers in the widest sense of the word (users and partners). We empower everyone to speak up when something isn’t right.

Agoda Values Do things the right way Joy Herholz

Joy Herholz
Senior Director, Customer Experience & Change
Customer Experience Group

Doing things the right way is about honesty, respect, and integrity—principles I strive to live by every day. I believe they’re the foundation for good teamwork, helping us deliver top-notch results for everyone involved: our customers, partners, and fellow Agodans.

Our team honors this value by following best practices, developing transparent frameworks for the projects we drive and support, and clearly communicating our progress and challenges to ensure everyone’s on the same page. We coordinate across teams and know when to bring in the right people for support and guidance. Most importantly, we’re not afraid to speak up when things go wrong. By setting the bar high and holding ourselves accountable, we inspire others to do the same.

Why does this matter? In the Customer Experience Group, we’re there to give our customers peace of mind when they need us, so it’s paramount to build trust and loyalty by doing things the right way. We’re not just ticking boxes; we’re working towards Agoda’s vision, and that can only happen when we’re aligned on what matters most: our integrity.

Move fast and be efficient

We realize resources and time are constrained. We cannot do it all, we don’t have an infinite amount of time. We try to automate and optimize our processes, refine, and streamline, so we can invest our limited resources on what’s important. We do more with less.

Agoda Values Move fast and be efficient Patrick Rae

Patrick Rae
Director of Analytics

In Supply, we work across many locations and functions every day with hundreds of salespeople. Having a bias for action means we’re always focusing on the most important things. Data and analytics have a tangible impact on the day-to-day operations of our teams and on Agoda’s supply strategy, so our ability to move with speed and efficiency is paramount.

As a team, we’re comfortable with pivoting from planned work if there is a more valuable analysis to deliver. In analytics, it often comes down to handling disruptions, understanding the level of certainty and perfection needed, and confidently making that call. Whether it’s just seeing a correlation as a smoke signal to continue testing/iterating or statistical significance from an experiment to change a process, knowing when to timebox an activity versus when to deep dive into the detail allows us to best support the organization.

Sometimes, being efficient also means challenging the things you’re asked to do, and ensuring they align with long-term goals. Ultimately, it’s about knowing how to prioritize.

Be a scientist, experiment and measure

We like to measure everything and make decisions based on objective evidence rather than subjective gut feeling. We use data to support our decisions, and we’re addicted to collecting data. We hypothesize, test and decide accordingly. Learning that our hypothesis was wrong is equally important.

Trish Lowe
Senior Manager of University & Recruitment Programs

Being a scientist means nurturing a mindset of exploration, curiosity, and evidence-based decision-making. We approach challenges with an eagerness to understand, experiment, and analyze objectively, rather than relying on mere intuition. In our team, we constantly experiment with new ideas, whether we’re engaging with students through our Campus Recruiting program or fine-tuning our Employee Referrals and Internal Mobility initiatives within Agoda.

Initially, we assumed that traditional approaches like highlighting our business, offices, and benefits would be enough to engage students, but through meticulous experimentation and measurement, we discovered that our assumptions didn’t always align with the reality of student behaviors, especially in new markets where we are still building our campus presence, like Europe, Malaysia or Korea. By delving deep into the data and feedback gathered from campus events, we were able to understand what truly resonates with students, like showcasing Agoda’s values, culture, sustainability practices, and employee communities.

After pivoting our strategies to include more interactive elements, leverage digital platforms, and tailor our messaging to better connect with our target audience, we observed a significant uptick in student participation and interest in our job opportunities. In the ever-evolving landscape of recruitment, adaptability is a must.

Take ownership and make a difference

Our approach: behave as if you own the company. You’re not just a service provider, you own the end-to-end outcome. If we identify issues, we take action: move people, notify management. If we identify big opportunities that are not taken, we do the same.

Sushmi Shreshtha
Engineering Manager

Taking ownership means fully embracing responsibility and actively steering towards solutions. This value empowers us to be decisive, proactively address problems, and strive to improve with each day.

In the fintech reconciliation team, we identify issues and pinpoint data bugs that occur upstream. This requires drives us to understand problems thoroughly, delve into their root causes, and ensure fixes are implemented effectively across multiple systems to keep things running smoothly for the business.

Previously, Agoda Fintech had multiple reconciliation frameworks built and maintained by different teams, which caused several issues, primarily hindering velocity, as the onboarding time for any new reconciliation was slow. There were no standards, and the reconciliation framework was not scalable. Rather than simply continuing to resolve these problems as they came up, my team took ownership and have since developed a generic framework for reconciliation. Now, any new reconciliation can onboard and begin reconciling within a month, allowing us to scale effectively as reconciliation being mandatory to launch product. Currently, we have hundreds of reconciliation related jobs running on production. We use big data technology like Spark, Vast, Hadoop, Oozie, and Kubeflow to keep reconciliation process runtime under couple of hours.

As a manager, I encourage them to set goals, learn from failure, and celebrate each win! As our work is fast paced, it’s easy to lose sight of the impact we’ve made, but taking ownership of success is a crucial part of the process, too.

Be direct and respectful

We believe in being truthful to people, even if the message is not pleasant. Honesty helps us create trust. Feedback is given openly and frequently. We do all that while preserving the dignity of both people and the company.

Swasti Pal
Principal Product Owner

In the Product team, we develop the products, features, and functions that drive travel at Agoda, turning concepts into reality. Problem-solving is our bread and butter, and the complex, fast-changing nature of our work requires us to collaborate with different teams. It’s essential for us to communicate effectively, challenge our own assumptions, and learn from one another. That’s where this value comes in.

In our team, everyone is encouraged to voice their opinions. For those who aren’t yet comfortable with speaking up, there are other ways to share ideas as they build confidence, like email or chat. We embrace healthy debate, but once a decision is locked in, we collectively pitch in and support it. When we run into unexpected delays and challenges, this culture of open communication allows us to move fast, come up with creative solutions, and set the right expectations.

During a debate about which features to build to address top user pain points, the Product team discussed and debated a short list of ideas with key stakeholders, allowing for a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of each option. Within a couple of days, the core team reached a consensus on what to build in Q2, quickly found the resources to build the feature, made necessary trade-offs, and incorporated it into the Q’s roadmap. This is just one of many instances where open, honest communication has facilitated fast decision-making and, consequently, fast product delivery.

It’s easy to share good news, but being direct and respectful is a commitment to transparency and open communication, even when the message is not easy to deliver. As a manager, I always welcome feedback, as it helps me to improve and create a better environment for my team. There are so many ways of working, especially in a company as diverse as Agoda. By being transparent with each other, we’re able to arrive at an approach that works for everyone.

If our values connect with you, join us at Agoda!

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