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Celebrating 25 years of partnership

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With Booking.com’s birthday around the corner, we reflect on some of the milestones we’ve achieved together over the last 25 years

As Booking.com turns 25, there are countless milestones to celebrate – all made possible because of your partnership. Here, we take you on a tour of our journey, stopping along the way to celebrate the milestones that we achieved together during a quarter of a century.

1996 – Bookings.nl was founded 

It all started on 12 November 1996, when our founder Geert-Jan Bruinsma started an online booking service called Bookings.nl. That start-up grew steadily in its first few years, jumping from its first employee in 1999 to 50 people by 2002. Since then, we’ve continued to grow into one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces, now known as Booking.com.

Bookings.nl
The Bookings.nl interface in the early 2000s.

 

2000 – The first apartment was listed on Bookings.nl 

Just four years after the platform was founded, we branched out from hotels and started listing alternative accommodations – the first being an apartment. Following that, we welcomed the first chalet in 2005, the first hotel boat in 2006 and the first riad in 2007. Since then, we've grown to 6.5 million listings of homes, apartments and other unique places to stay. 

2010 – Our mobile app launched

Responding to the rise of the smartphone, we launched our first mobile app in 2010. Today, mobile bookings represent over 60% of our total room nights. We even became the number one downloaded OTA app in Q2 of 2021, putting your properties in the hands of travellers all over the world. 

2011 – Our first annual partner recognition award

To recognise your incredible hospitality, we launched our first annual Traveller Review Awards, an important symbol of our commitment to working together with you and honouring your achievements. 

TRA
The design of our first ever Traveller Review Award.

 

2016 – We grew to one million properties 

In early August 2016, we reached new heights with the addition of our one-millionth property, Greydon House, located in the historic district of Nantucket, Massachusetts. 

By this year we offered unique accommodation options in over 30 different categories, including everything from boats, igloos, castles and treehouses to apartments, villas, holiday homes and resorts. During this year, alternative accommodations grew to make up over 70% of accommodation on Booking.com. 

2017 – Booking Heroes was born 

To thank you for all the ways you create unforgettable travel experiences, we launched Booking Heroes in 2017. We asked our customers to share their stories of amazing hospitality – the moments where you, our partners, become heroes. 

The following year, in 2018, we revealed our first three winners: Karen, Owner of Blackburn Villa B&B in Ayr, Scotland; Sudarshi, Owner of Tunnel Gap Homestay in Ella, Sri Lanka; and Alina, Receptionist at citizenM Hotel in New York City, USA.

2017 – Hundreds of you joined us at the first annual Click. event 

In September 2017, we hosted our first annual partner conference, Click. Hundreds of you joined us from across the world in our home city of Amsterdam to connect and network with Booking.com experts, leading names in hospitality and your peers. 

Click event
We met hundreds of you in real life at our first Click. event in 2017.

 

2018 – We launched our new partner promise

At the end of 2018, we launched our new partner promise, Growing Together, our ongoing commitment to build a stronger era of partnership. It’s a promise to continually support your business and make you feel valued by nurturing a relationship that really lives up to the word partner. 

2019 – Together we welcomed over 3 billion guests

In April 2019, we announced over 3 billion guest arrivals across all property offerings since 2007, with 750 million of those guests arriving at alternative accommodations including homes, apartments and other unique places to stay. 

2019 – We introduced the first international quality rating score for short-term rentals 

Previously, no globally applicable rating system existed for travellers looking to stay in an alternative accommodation like a home or apartment. In 2019, Booking.com took the lead in developing a first-of-its-kind Quality Rating system for apartments, vacation homes and villas to help showcase the great strides our partners take in the ongoing professionalisation of the short-term rental industry.  

2020 – Travel Proud launched

Together we’ve been making travel more inclusive for the LGBTQ+ community through our Travel Proud Programme, which launched last year. Since then, thousands of you have completed our free Proud Hospitality training session and are now Proud Certified.

Travel Proud
Behind every property with the Travel Proud badge is a commitment to welcoming hospitality.

 

2021 – We celebrated over one million Traveller Review Award winners

At the start of this year, we announced over one million Traveller Review Award winners – a real testament to your exceptional hospitality. Recognising partners across 220 countries and territories, this was the ninth edition of our annual partner recognition awards. 

From all of us at Booking.com, thank you for your partnership. Together we’ve created millions of memories for travellers around the world. We can’t wait to continue growing together over the next 25 years and beyond. 

 

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Takeaway
  • From humble beginnings in 1996, Booking.com has since grown into one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces and will soon be celebrating its 25th birthday – which wouldn’t be possible without you, our partners
  • From the first booking back in 1997 to welcoming over 3 billion guest arrivals in 2019, together we’ve created millions of unforgettable memories for travellers around the world
  • Thank you for your partnership. We can’t wait to continue growing together over the next 25 years and beyond