Tintswalo Safari Lodge

A couple of days ago, Agoda, the Singaporean company which dominates the OTA landscape in APAC, announced the winners of its Gold Circle Awards. This year, Thailand lead the the market league table with 241 hotels represented, followed by Japan with 230, and 150 in China.

With the awards celebrating their tenth year, I spoke to Errol Cooke, vice president of partner services at Agoda, to find out more about how the awards work:

You have just announced the winners of Agoda’s tenth Gold Circle Awards. Can you tell me how and why the awards were first conceived?

Since Agoda’s beginnings as an e-commerce startup, we have grown to one of the world’s fastest-growing OTAs today with over 1.8 million properties worldwide. We couldn’t have done it without our trusted hotel partners. When we first conceived the Gold Circle Awards about ten years ago, we wanted to celebrate hotels providing outstanding customer excellence and acknowledge our invaluable hotel partnerships.

“Gold Circle Awards assures our customers that they will get quality service”

In Agoda’s official statement about this year’s awards you said they were “part of our overall commitment to providing customers with the best prices, greatest choice and experience” – how does that work exactly?

We work closely with our hotel partners to provide Agoda customers with the best rates, availability and experience, and the Gold Circle Awards assures our customers that they will get quality service and best prices from our winners.

How many properties are included in the competition?

All of Agoda’s hotel partners worldwide are eligible to be shortlisted as an Gold Circle Award winner, representing the top 1%.

How does the selection process for the awards work, from the longlist to the final shortlist and eventual winners?

We review the past year’s performance of all properties against top customer review scores, competitive pricing, best in class availability and a commitment to continually improving customer engagement.

Benefits

What does a hotel get out of winning at the awards?

Every traveller who books an Agoda Gold Circle Award property can be sure that the property has earned stellar customer feedback and reviews from real guests, will offer fantastic service during their stay, and offers competitive rates.

We help winners promote their award through delivering physical plaques that can be displayed at the hotel reception, placing the Gold Circle Award winner icon on their Agoda listings and promoting the awards through our marketing channels.

You had your first 10/10 hotel at this year’s Gold Circle Awards, Tintswalo Safari Lodge. What stood out about this property?

It’s no wonder this property is a huge winner with guests – it delivers an exceptional experience for travelers from its location and beautiful surroundings, to the amazing staff and excellent service.

What were the other highlights from this year?

In addition to celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Gold Circle Awards, we will be honouring over 1,000 new entrants to the shortlist, as well as 43 partners that have held their spot on the list for four years consecutively.

Events

You have 30 award ceremonies coming between now and the end of the year, why so many?

We want to thank our Gold Circle Award winners personally and by hosting the ceremony in different cities gives us the opportunity to meet as many of them as possible.

Which cities will they be held in?

The ceremonies will be held in destinations where we have a high concentration of Gold Circle Award winners, including Bangkok, Beijing, Bali, London and Dubai.

Click here to download the full list of winners.

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