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Booking.com

"Behind the browser" with the world's top accommodations site

by Karen Day in Travel on 09 July 2013

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Playfully dubbed "planet Earth's #1 accommodations site," Booking.com has been an essential travel tool in Europe for over a decade, and it's now quickly gaining momentum stateside with its unique approach to customer service and humorous TV commercials created by the talented team at Wieden+Kennedy. We were recently invited "behind the browser" to learn more about the Amsterdam-based company, whose Rembrandt Square HQ is teeming with energy and creative ideas concerning ways to enhance the travel experience.

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Customer service is at the forefront of all of Booking's operations—this includes everything from translating the site into 41 languages (a move that has made them highly popular in countries like Latvia, Iceland and Japan) to keeping each of their localized call centers open 24 hours a day and in-house, so if a problem arises, guests are guaranteed to speak to someone employed by Booking (who is empowered to make decisions) plus, someone native to their country in an assurance that they will understand the guest's distinct cultural conventions. The industrious company maintains 102 offices around the world in order to not only assist guests on a more personal level, but also to better work with the 315,000 properties Booking represents online.

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Helmed by former Microsoft VP Darren Huston, Booking is raising the benchmark for customer service satisfaction, and Huston is also tasking the team with mining a complex amount of data, in a project called The Booking Truth. By fully understanding travelers' specific needs and desires, Booking can proactively work to build new paradigms—starting with the way guests interact with the Booking site itself, to the way hotels treat their guests. The zealous Booking team prides itself on pandering to nontraditional situations and enriching travel experiences—and they lovingly call this mission to nail it every time The Delight of Right.

Each night, over one million people stay in one of Booking's 316,812 properties and the team is working hard to both maintain and improve upon an online system that allows for greater personal customization, as well as guaranteed satisfaction once the trip is in place. With 46,000 destinations in 183 countries, this is no easy feat. But by allowing people to log in and build a Booking profile, they can tailor their services to specific interests—like boutique accommodations, hotels with free wi-fi, beachside locations and potentially even hard or soft mattresses. The more Booking learns about what a guest loves, the more suitable the search results become. And, if a traveler changes their mind last minute, Booking offers cancelation of an entire reservation within 24 hours of the stay.

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Booking also allows guests to rely on other guests' experiences by placing a strong emphasis on reviews. The site features over 21 million independent reviews, and they have a fraud department to ensure that only people who have genuinely stayed at that accommodation are able to leave comments. They also only display reviews for the past 14 months, so each evaluation is ultra-fresh and relevant to future guests.

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Essentially, Booking is strategically attempting in every way possible to be the world's most reliable and diverse source for booking travel accommodations. They aim to have your back at every step, from searching to staying, and ultimately hope to make your visit—whether it's a family holiday or a business trip—as seamless as possible, so you can kick back and simply enjoy the destination.

Images courtesy of Booking, lead image by Karen Day

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