Each year, our annual global partner summit, Click. brings together the brightest minds in the industry to inform and inspire you, our partners.
Normally held in Amsterdam, this year the event went entirely virtual to keep everyone socially distanced. From key business priorities and product developments to regionally tailored insights, Booking.com leaders shared what you need to know as we head into 2021. Here, we give a brief summary of some of the key learnings across the three-day event.
The event kicked off on a note of optimism after a year of unexpected travel upheavals tied to the coronavirus (COVID-19). “Hope has arrived in the form of vaccines that will, over time, bring us back to that world in which the joy of travel is felt by all,” said CEO Glenn Fogel as he welcomed partners to the three-day conference. “We will get there, and Booking.com will be doing everything we can to get to that day sooner.”
Recovery from the pandemic was top of mind during the event, with a focus on the strategic advice, products, tools, and services partners need to capture demand. “We need to continue to stimulate and capture demand for you and help you prepare for the nature of demand that’s coming,” said James Waters, Senior Vice-President of Accommodations, during the first of the daily live broadcasts connecting the studio in Amsterdam with speakers and guests from around the world.
New tools and programs, including a reimagined Genius
Talk over the three days turned to the tools and programs released during the coronavirus, like new demand dashboards that provide data to partners so they can focus on demand as travel markets begin to open up. These dashboards and the Partner Performance Investment Program are among the coronavirus-inspired initiatives explored during Click. 2021 that are designed to bring partners demand they might otherwise struggle to capture and convert.
With this goal of helping to bring demand to our partners during recovery, we shared our vision for the future of our loyalty program, Genius, to help you gain even more visibility, increase bookings, and grow your business in 2021 and beyond.
Connecting trips in an increasingly mobile world
A key theme of many sessions was focusing on incremental business and capturing demand partners might otherwise miss out on. This is incorporated into many forward-thinking plans, including the Connected Trip, which is assisting with recovery by cross-selling trips alongside accommodations.
“We firmly believe that by offering additional trip products like cars, flights, taxis, and attractions, we’re able to actually bring you demand that would normally have gone to an airline or a car rental site,” said Bryan Batista, CEO of the transport division. This push toward more incremental business for partners includes demand-generation experiments, such as offering free taxi rides to travelers when they book a property on our platform, and expanding the Genius program to include car rides.
A renewed focus on the Connected Trip is particularly vital when you consider the shift in consumer behavior toward mobile booking. In fact, the coronavirus may have actually sped up this process. More than two thirds of total room nights on our platform in 2020 were booked using mobile devices, while the Booking.com app continued to see strong uptake, topping 50 million downloads from app stores.
Sustainability takes center stage
No gathering focused on the state of the travel industry in 2021 would be complete without considering sustainability, which had a prominent role at Click. This included a session exploring research and consumer insights around this increasingly essential topic.
During the session, we learned that 70% of consumers would be more likely to choose a property if they knew it was implementing sustainable practices. This is why it’s crucial for partners to update details of their sustainable practices on the Extranet. The sustainability takeaway from Click. was that not only is it important to take steps to make sustainable travel easier, those steps are an essential part of the collective movement to ensure there’s a world worth experiencing.
- Click. 2021 went virtual this year, with live and on-demand sessions captured in one place for you to watch at your leisure
- A strong focus on pandemic recovery runs through the event, with special emphasis on tuning products and programs so partners can capture incremental business
- New tools like demand dashboards and a reimagined Genius program can help partners measure demand and reach more bookers
- The Connected Trip and the rise of mobile bookings are two key areas where our leaders see opportunities in 2021