A one-stop shop for all your booking-related requirements, this is the message succinctly conveyed with the words of this popular catchphrase used for a Booking.com campaign. Ending with a positive adverb priming you to take affirmative action, how can you say no! Whether it’s inter or intra-city travel, grand hotels or quaint homestays, spiritual or gastro tours in a city, a tourist can find all answers on Booking.com.
An inability to book a hotel room in Amsterdam, even though the facility was available on Hilton.com for booking rooms in the United States, led Geert-Jan Bruinsma to develop a website in 1996 for people to book a hotel room online across the Netherlands. And thus, Bookings.nl, the original Online Travel Company (OTC) was born.
However, Bruinsma wasn’t the only one dabbling with travel websites. Two other websites for hotels had started before his in Amsterdam. One of them allowed reservations through an email form, while the other was only as advertising space for hotels. The three agreed to collaborate and share booking commissions. By 2000, bookings.nl merged with Bookings Online and adopted the currently used booking.com URL.
Booking.com was a globally recognized website by now, and therefore had a substantial global user base. Talks of acquisitions began with Expedia, but after nearly 6 months of discussions the idea was quelled. In 2005 though, a US based company by the name of Priceline Group acquired booking.com. Although the organization had many other travel aggregator names under their wing, Booking.com soon became the largest revenue generator for them contributing to nearly 85% of gross revenue. Riding on the success of Booking.com, Priceline Group decided to rename the group to Booking Holdings.
What powers Booking.com
What has the OTC done since its inception, which allowed it to grow into a company with a multinational and multilingual presence, offering listings in the millions? Booking.com employs over 20,000 people across 140 nationalities in more than 200 countries. Originating as an online travel booking service, technology and digital innovation has undoubtedly played a crucial role in the company’s growth, reach and longevity. However, its not just the technical prowess alone which dictates sustained success of a company. Booking.com’s ethos and operational culture is driven by five key tenets, or values: Think customer first; Succeed together; Own it; Learn forever; Do the right thing.
Why book with Booking.com
From its humble beginnings in 1996, this Dutch startup burgeoned into one of the world’s leading OTC. Driven by a simple mission – “make it easier for everyone to experience the world” – Booking.com overcame language and geographical barriers to create a platform to seamlessly connect millions of travelers to millions of options.
The platform is available to customers in at least 43 languages and offers multiple options across five key areas – Accommodations, ground transportation, flights, restaurants and activities or attractions – with a presence in more than 200 countries.
1. Accommodations – The platform has 28 million reported listings, across categories such as hotels, homes, apartments, B&B, resorts, villas and guest houses. Based on the room nights booked metric, Booking.com is the world’s leading brand for online accommodation reservations.
2. Ground Transportation –Customers can book car rentals and airport taxis through Booking.com. Rentalcars.com, which started off as TravelJigsaw in 2004 in Manchester, United Kingdom, offers online rental car reservation services in 54,000 locations world-wide. Additionally, the platform has cross-platform commercial partnerships with taxi hailing services such as Grab in Singapore, which would allow a customer to book a cab with Grab through the Booking.com app.
3. Flights – Booking.com partners with thousands of flight operators to provide ample options for travelers to choose from. Prices quoted on the aggregator’s website are set by the airline operators, however Booking.com may choose to offer rewards or other benefits on their account.
4. Restaurants – Partnering with OpenTable, a sister company, Booking.com has enabled customers to book restaurant reservations with over 50,000 restaurants located in 5 countries.
5. Activities and attractions – To encapsulate the entire traveler’s journey, customers can also choose from different activities to do in the cities they visit. Based on their preference, travelers can choose from walking tours, visits to places of historical or cultural importance, museums, and attractions unique to the city such as visit to catacombs in Rome. Across cities, tourists can choose from hundreds to thousands of options.
Apart from this, Booking.com offers the ‘Genius Loyalty Programme’. With three levels, customers can scale up through stay bookings. And with each level they get better advantages. From 10% discount on room bookings, to 20% discount with complimentary breakfast on most stays.