Some of you may have seen my earlier blog post on why you should attend CX Marketing Singapore 2016! Our annual Forrester Singapore event returns in less than two weeks, and I’m excited to hear from our own Forrester experts as well as esteemed industry speakers on how customer experience is and will continue to be the key differentiator for organizations to succeed in the age of the customer.
I hope to see you at the Marina Mandarin on August 25 — register here if you haven’t already! In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of what to expect at the Forum. I had the opportunity to speak with David Peller, Director, Strategic Partnerships, Asia Pacific at Booking.com, who gave us the inside scoop on how Booking.com has organized itself to be customer-obsessed, which it believes gives it an edge today. Here’s what he had to say:
How has the age of the customer affected the travel industry? How have you seen your customer needs evolve?
If you think back to the time when travel was essentially an offline shopping experience, the customer used to spend hours deliberating with imperfect information, guided by a travel agent. Today, technology democratizes the travel experience — and you don’t just have to take the view of one person for granted. On Booking.com, we have more than 100 million verified reviews of properties, places and activities, which provides engaging content for every potential traveler to explore.
Can you tell us briefly about Booking.com’s digital transformation program and the approach that you’ve taken?
In many ways, Booking.com is countercultural in regard to a “digital transformation program. ” We were born in the internet age and have been a digital business for all of our 20 years in existence. A few short years ago, we started experimenting with expanding our marketing efforts beyond our “traditional ” focus area of online performance marketing to offline advertising. We began this journey in the US in 2013 and we believe there’s a big opportunity ahead for us to make sure Booking.com becomes a well-known and loved brand in travel.
From customer-aware to customer-led: How do you let your customers drive your digital transformation?
We strongly believe that the customer is at the heart of everything we do at Booking.com. We’re very focused on the value that we bring to our customers, from a choice of more than 1 million properties worldwide, with great pricing, room selection, and a product that is easy and intuitive to use. We work every day to ensure that we have the right content to inspire our customers to experience the world; to have the right product available every day; and to ensure that our customers can engage with us, whether over the phone or through digital channels — whenever they need service or support.
What are the steps that Booking.com has taken to build an innovation culture?
We remain true to our entrepreneurial roots. We think of ourselves as a global startup driven by deeply committed, passionate people, engaged around the strongest of desire to help travelers discover, book, and enjoy the world’s best places to stay. With that passion comes a focus on enhancing the customer experience every day. To that end, we implement and manage more than 1,000 experiments every day across our platform to better serve our customers.
What does success look like for Booking.com in the next five years?
We’re incredibly humbled by the number of travelers that trust us each day, helping them to discover and experience the world around them. Yet there are still so many people in the world who have yet to have the opportunity to travel. Success for us would be playing our part in making the world a smaller place, bringing more guests to our accommodation partners from around the world — guests who would never have been able to discover those properties or destinations without us — and surprising, then delighting, travelers with new experiences both near and far.
Don’t miss David Peller’s presentation, “Customer Centricity Starts With Highly Engaged Employees: Find Out Why! “, which will take place in the morning of Forrester’s CX Marketing 2016 Singapore Forum, where he will talk about how Booking.com fuels its growth and customer centricity by building an innovation culture and how it intends to stay the No. 1 accommodation service in the world.