Applications open today for the 2020 Booking Booster Accelerator Program. This marks the fourth year of the program, which brings social entrepreneurs, startups and non-profit organizations to Amsterdam for hands-on workshops, mentoring sessions, and coaching. The program will be wholly focused on sustainability in accommodations.
"With the 2020 Booking Booster program, we’re excited to be championing innovative solutions that help our accommodation partners to adopt more sustainable practices. It’s not only what our customers want, but our partners as well,” says Rob Ransom, Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development at Booking.com. “Bringing together products and services developed by startups and organizations from around the world with practical case studies from leading sustainable properties will accelerate our collective efforts to make every stay a sustainable one.”
Two tracks leading to finale and funding
This year, the program consists of two complementary 10-day sessions. The first, held in May, will focus on organizations that offer innovative products and services to help accommodation providers become more sustainable. The second session, held in September, will be attended by accommodation providers themselves, including those who are just starting their sustainability journey.
Both sessions will culminate in a live presentation on stage as part of the finale in September. Following this, judges will award scaling grants to participants to help support the next stage of their projected growth. The amount of grants given away in 2020 through Booking Booster will total €2.6m.
Everyone who participates in the Booking Booster program, whether or not chosen for a grant, receives a year of ongoing mentoring and coaching from experts at Booking.com.
Sustainability growing in importance across the board
The issue of sustainability has taken on increased urgency for both travelers and accommodation providers. Recent Booking.com research shows that almost three quarters (72%) of travelers believe that people need to act now and make sustainable travel choices to save the planet for future generations. Survey responses from Booking.com accommodation partners closely mirror the concerns of travelers, with 82% of Booking.com’s accommodation partners indicating a desire to collaborate with guests on sustainability.
In previous years the program has supported a number of sustainability focused products and services with potential for application by hoteliers. In 2019, Hydrao, a smart showerhead designed to encourage lower water usage using real-time light-based indicators with a connected app to measure water savings, was backed. The showerheads have since been installed in a pilot program in the US, where water represents the second-highest utility expense for hotels. Previous years have included projects with similar hospitality implications like KITRO, a technologically innovative device used to measure, manage and reduce food waste.
Startups, social enterprises, non-profit organizations and sustainable accommodations from all over the world - including previous Booking Booster alumni - are invited to apply starting today (January 28, 2020) on the Booking Booster website.
- The Booking Booster Accelerator Program begins its call for applications today, with the initiative adopting a special focus for 2020 on sustainability in accommodations
- The program will comprise two sessions, one in May for organizations focused on innovative products and services to help accommodations become more sustainable and one in September for accommodation providers
- Both sessions will include close mentoring by Booking.com experts and staff, culminating in a live event in September to announce awarded funding
- Grants awarded in 2020 through Booking Booster will total €2.6m