Web in Travel: Booking.com remains committed to sustainable travel despite failed hotel tagging test

Web in Travel: Booking.com remains committed to sustainable travel despite failed hotel tagging test

Consumers do not opt to book hotels which are flagged up as eco-friendly, according to the results of a test by run by Booking.com.

Angel Llull Mancas, managing director Asia Pacific of the travel giant, told the Web in Travel conference the site will continue working on sustainable tourism strategies.

But he said adding an “eco-friendly” tag to hotel listings in an A-B test actually led to those hotels being book less often than those without the tag.

“People were telling us that if a property is eco-friendly that would be quite interesting. We were sure that showing a hotel is eco-friendly would be better.

“Many times a customer says something, but how they behave, what they do, is pretty different.

“We will never roll out something which is not beneficial for the customer, for our partners or for us.

“So, we are not going to roll this out, but it does not mean we are not going to work in green, sustainable tourism.

“The fact a test is not working does not mean its not going to work ever.”

In September booking.com was one of four major global travel brands announced as the launch partner for Travalyst a sustainable travel foundation established by the Duke of Susses, Prince Harry.

Llull Mancas said booking.com was supporting sustainability start-ups and social enterprises, both financially and in terms of mentorship and professional counselling.

“At booking we exist to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, but there has to be a world to visit.

“We are involved in different project helping destinations and cities. Sometimes we are promoting off the beaten track destinations and things to do.

“Younger generations are definitely interested in that so we are definitely going to be promoting that.”

Booking.com says it is investing in brand, its mobile app and in social in APAC as it looks to alternative channels to search for customer acquisition.

It is also developing new partnerships like the one it has agreed with ride hailing app Grab which went live in August.

“In this part of the world the first entry point [for the consumer] is not necessarily search,” said Lull Mancas.

He said the Grab relationship will be assessed based on number of bookings it generates and also the cost of acquiring new customers.

“We are empowered to fail fast. The more you fail the faster you learn. Ninety percent of our hypotheses in A-B testing fail.

“But if you are able to do that a huge volumes with a lot of testing a learnings you get a huge amount from it and the chances of you  succeeding next time is higher.”

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