Live Curious_Booking.com

Behind the scenes of Booking.com marketing

How does Booking.com engage new customers and how do our partners benefit from this activity? We explore recent advertising efforts and strategic partnerships

Throughout the year Booking.com undertakes a vast amount of marketing activity to help attract new guests to your accommodations. Last month we shared the inside track on our sponsorship deal with UEFA, and now we are delving into advertising and strategic partnerships.

Matthew Gerrie, Vice President of Customer Insights leads the marketing science and communication team, which looks after everything to do with advertising including TV and online across the likes of YouTube, Facebook and display (website banner ads).

“We’ve spent a long time establishing what Booking.com stands for in a way that complements our partners and brings their expertise to the fore,” he says. “The idea is we are casting the net as wide as possible, reaching as many travellers that exist out there and bringing them onto our platform in many different languages and channels to showcase all our partners have to offer.”

Another important aspect of our marketing activity is strategic partnerships, which focuses on finding demand in non-traditional channels through collaborating with other global brands.

“We identify B2B2C [business to business to consumer] channels that serve wider communities of consumers, see if there is a fit and alignment in terms of our partners and their core audiences,” says Mark van der Linden, Senior Director - Marketing Partnerships. “You’ll probably have booked an airline ticket, and as part of that flow you are offered the opportunity to book accommodation or seen deals on travel bookings offered by your financial institution - well these are the kind of partnerships we create.”

The story in 2019

Partners in the US may have seen our campaign Be A Booker launch earlier this year, whether on TV, social media or on billboards and websites. “The campaign celebrates the people that get off the couch, stop browsing and get booking, the people that stop just dreaming about travel and actually do it,” says Gerrie. “It’s a multi-channel campaign and here we are trying to drive through the idea of celebrating our bookers, the people that are inspired to go and do cool things and how we empower them to experience the world.”

Meanwhile in Europe, Live Curious hit screens in March with a similar theme tailored for the region and building on travellers’ intrigue in global travel, as Gerrie explains: “The idea that it’s innate in everyone, the idea that we are able to offer a platform that helps them live curious; find new, cool things and new places to stay; to unlock the inner explorer in everyone.”

On the strategic partnerships side, 2018 was a pivotal year with the coming together of three key teams: the existing strategic partnerships department; RentalCars Connect, the affiliate department of, our rental-car division; and Business Bookers - a team that looks after forging relationships and business travel agreements with corporate customers.

“We have a global business with a local focus, specifically looking at local differentiators and flavours when identifying suitable brands to partner with,” says van der Linden. “Whether it’s things like working on loyalty programmes with airlines in Latin America - which are in high demand in that region, or the likes of incentivising Amazon Prime audiences in Germany or Spotify customers in the UK, we look at how we can add value to our partners in collaboration with these companies.”

The business market has been a particularly interesting avenue of exploration, and one partners’ may not have immediately associated us with. “Booking.com was traditionally known for delivering interesting demand for our partners in the consumer space but they have a different travel pattern to business bookers so there is a real opportunity here,” says van der Linden. “By focusing on business travel, we can open up a new source of demand to complement the traditional demand we are generating in the consumer space."

Looking to the future

In the coming months and beyond, you can expect to see a lot more activity that will help entice more guests to explore Booking.com and discover your property. One of the key focuses for this will be championing the variety of experiences you offer. 

“Throughout 2019 and into 2020, you’ll see a much more diverse property message showcasing everything from the five-star hotel with the pillow menu and great gym all the way through to the individualised service you get from a B&B or apartment,” says Gerrie. “We’ve already started doing this but we’re going to increasingly deepen that to showcase the breadth and depth of supply that our partners offer our customers.”

Meanwhile, Booking.com’s strategic partnerships will be further exploring the ever-evolving opportunities in mobile technology. “Our department has been leading the charge in partnering with mobile networks and providers, such as Samsung and Oppo among others, to have the app pre-installed on their devices. We see more and more demand on mobile, in some markets there is no desktop at all, so this is a key growth area."

One of the big plusses of our work in this area is the fact that partners benefit from the reach and knowledge of thousands of dedicated experts, as van der Linden explains. “Whether you are a large or small property, the demand we are generating - where we find audiences at scale to drive that high intent demand and conversion, it’s like having your own extended marketing and sales team but without the complexities of having to build that yourself or investing to achieve a global reach. Working together, we are able to grow business and continue to create amazing experiences for global travellers.”

 

Learn more about how Booking.com and its partners are Growing Together

Takeaway
  • Booking.com marketing reaches travellers around the globe and brings them onto the platform via many different channels including TV, online and social media
  • Through strategic partnerships, Booking.com focuses on finding demand in non-traditional channels through collaborating with other global brands
  • Two major advertising campaigns launched in 2019: Live Curious in Europe and Be A Booker in the US
  • Strategic partnerships will be exploring further opportunities in mobile technology to build on its work with the likes of Samsung and Oppo