Each year we ask Booking.com customers to share their stories of amazing hospitality. The moments where you, the partners, have gone far beyond expectations. Hearing about memorable welcomes, outstanding service and unexpected support, it’s a moment where hosts become heroes.
“Our partners are unsung heroes - going above and beyond, day in and day out, for the world’s travellers,” says Courtney Maywald, Senior Manager, Partner Brand Marketing at Booking.com. “We want to recognise that hospitality, and bring to light some of the incredible experiences that we know our partners make happen every day.
“With Booking Heroes, we’re really looking for life changing gestures. They don’t need to be huge, but they need to be impactful.” In 2019, three tales stood out for unique and special reasons. “Choosing the Booking Hero winners is never easy,” says Maywald. “We read every single entry, and they’re in the thousands. But we know we’ve hit on a good one when we can’t wait to tell people about it. And we couldn’t wait to tell people about a baby’s magical first Christmas, a VERY last-minute wedding, and the unbelievable generosity of showing up like family for strangers in their time of greatest need.”
You can learn more about why they are our Booking Heroes in each of the three films created to capture their stories, but read on to meet our winners and find out more about their approach to winning hospitality.
Creating great experiences
Corrado Sorrentino and his wife Angela, Owners of Around The World B&B, were nominated by guests Kim and Jim Spann when a medical emergency saw the couple rushing to hospital in the middle of the night.
“Being nominated for Booking Heroes was a great honour, really something unexpected,” says Sorrentino. “We treat our guests not as such but as people, always looking to understand their needs and do everything for them to offer a family atmosphere.”
Indeed, the Sorrentino’s unwavering support led them to be crowned our Booking Hero grand prize winners - and created a unique relationship, as he explains: “The misfortune of that night has given rise to a bond that goes beyond friendship”.
Natukunda Faith and Nankumba Ferister, both Receptionists at the Acacia Beach Hotel in Uganda, made a bride’s last-minute dreams come true, transforming the setting for her wedding and making the day all the more special.
Each guest experience offers an opportunity to learn and develop, and even for partners who show incredible hosting skills there are new perspectives to be gained
“Being a Booking Hero teaches us that in service we should always provide the best to our clients; our satisfaction is in exceeding the client's expectations”.
For Sarah Brown, Owner of The Tower Auckland in New Zealand, her background working on superyachts set a great foundation for going beyond expectations - something a young family experienced firsthand when she made their first Christmas together one to remember, in a most unexpected way.
“I've always considered that nothing is too much trouble when it comes to hosting guests, so whatever they need I will try to arrange it for them,” Brown says. “Communication is also key, I try to explain all the information guests may need before they arrive, and find out any special events from them that I can help to plan in advance.”
Learn from experience
Each guest experience offers an opportunity to learn and develop, and even for partners who show incredible hosting skills there are new perspectives to be gained, as Acacia Beach Hotel’s Natukunda and Nankumba found: “We have always received genuine and honest feedback from clients. The Booking Hero journey has changed the way we view the role of a host because it inspired, motivated and changed our perception towards service for a lifetime - to always carry on.”
Having her efforts around guest experience recognised was a welcome surprise for Brown. “Guest reviews tend to cover the facilities and other tangibles at a property, so it's great to see that Booking.com considers the overall experience offered by hosts to be so important,” she says.
“Guests are all unique. It's possible to plan about 80% of the guest's experience consistently, using schedules and other planned processes, and the other 20% is the human factor. It's very important to have someone personally interact with guests - whether that's by email or phone, as well as meeting and greeting guests, to ensure they have an enjoyable and hassle-free experience at your property.”
“It has made us made us even more aware of the importance and responsibility of our role” reflects Sorrentino. “Our greatest satisfaction is to read the compliments in our guest’s reviews. We have learned to manage our structure at 360 degrees from the guest check-in until the moment they leave. Perhaps our trump card is, before being hoteliers, we are great travellers and as such we know the type of reception that a customer expects to find during their vacation”.
- Booking Heroes are nominated by their guests. Every year we invite travellers from all around the world to share their stories of unforgettable stays made possible by our partners’ efforts
- Grand prize winners, along with their nominees, receive €25,000 to spend on travel with Booking.com, while the two runners up receive €5,000 each
- Entries for the 2020 Booking Heroes will open later this year