In a recent podcast with Skift, Priceline’s most important brand, Booking.com’s CEO Gillian Tans spoke about the strategies that are governing the world’s most popular accommodation booking website. Presently, Booking.com boasts of over a million accommodations on its platform across 93,000 destinations. Here are some of the key takeaways from the conversation:
Knowing The Market Demand
According to Ms. Tans, Booking.com knows what people exactly want with the help of the data they collect. Hence, instead of guessing on their demands, Booking.com provides exactly what travelers are looking for. The growing expectations for technological upgrades is a constant demand among customers, hence, with its continuous innovations and upgrades, the platform never fails to wow its customers and remain the top online accommodation provider in the world.
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Let The Customer Choose Between OTAs And Direct Hotel Bookings
When asked about the rivalry between OTAs and hotel chains that are aggressively promoting direct bookings through their own websites, Ms. Tans said that the ultimate decision lies in the hands of the customer. Hence, there’s no point in creating rifts with the hotel websites (who also happen to be important suppliers for these OTAs). She said that sometimes, customers might trust an online travel website more when they are making a booking for a hotel for the first time. For their next bookings, they might directly book through the hotel’s own website.
In fact, with the number of chains present on a leading accommodation provider’s website, it doesn’t seem like OTAs need to fear direct competition from one or two individual hotel chains. Customers will always have a plethora of options to make an informed decision when it comes to big online travel websites such as Booking.com.
Mobile Transactions Are Gaining Importance
Almost half of the transaction made on Booking.com is through the mobile platform and hence innovation and investments on technology seems to be the most important way to grow further. Though the company tries optimizing the customer experience across all the devices, it is clear that it focuses most on mobile.
Offline Advertisement Campaign To Be Spread Globally
Though it had faced questions about spending huge amounts of money for offline advertising in North America, according to Ms. Tans, that was an important way to make people better aware of the Booking.com platform and the returns it gained on the investment has been significant enough to convince the company to spread offline advertising across the globe.
Google And Social Media Both Have Their Own Roles In Booking.com’s Growth
When asked which one, between Google or social media, is more important for Booking.com’s growth, Ms. Tans replied that both had their distinct advantages. Google helps in directing customers to Booking.com’s websites, however, social media helps capture a potential traveler’s ‘intent to travel.’ Through social media, Booking.com can gauge its potential market and hence target it for successful conversion of sales. Towards this end, though Google’s contribution is straightforward, social media is gaining importance in helping to predict future customer trends and demand.
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