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Booking.com Champions Travel Stories from Three Incredible Partners as Winners of #BookingHero Competition

March 24, 2018 OTA News No Comments Email Email

What does a dream wedding in New York, an adventure through the mountains of Sri Lanka and a family’s search for their roots in Scotland all have in common? A hospitality professional went out of their way to make or save someone’s trip and today Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, is sharing their stories with the world as the winners of its first-ever Booking Hero competition.

Booking.com received thousands of submissions via social media and have selected the three most touching and inspiring accounts of hospitality professionals going above and beyond to create unique and unforgettable travel experiences for our customers. The customers were then flown back to surprise their Heroes in person and to say thank you for making (and saving) their trips, with all the emotional reunions caught live on camera.

Booking.com is now showcasing these stories and sharing them with the world: including a B&B owner in Scotland who helped a Canadian customer find the house where his father was born before immigrating to North America; a hotel receptionist who came to the rescue and saved a Belgian bride’s dream photo shoot in Central Park; and a pregnant host about to give birth in Sri Lanka who kept her homestay open to care for an injured hiker from the Netherlands.

Booking Hero grand prize winners of €25,000 in travel credit on Booking.com
Karen, Owner of Blackburn Villa B&B in Ayr, Scotland
Nominated by David and Virginia from Canada

Booking Hero runners-up winning €5,000 in travel credit on Booking.com
Sudarshi, Owner of Tunnel Gap Homestay in Ella, Sri Lanka
Nominated by Harry and Nienke from the Netherlands

Booking Hero runners-up winning €5,000 in travel credit on Booking.com
Alina, Receptionist at citizenM Hotel in New York City, USA
Nominated by Els and Kevin from Belgium

“We are so appreciative of the outstanding commitment and dedication of our partners around the world. They pour so much of themselves into their business and into creating truly extraordinary experiences for travellers each and every day,” said Peter Verhoeven, Vice President of Partner Services at Booking.com. “These three amazing stories perfectly capture the unique and personal moments that make travel so special. Outstanding acts of kindness and generosity like this really are the backbone of the entire hospitality industry. We couldn’t be more proud of our exceptional partners around the globe and are looking forward to surfacing even more incredible stories like this in the future.”

According to recent research conducted by Booking.com across 25 markets in 2017, a personal connection is essential for many travellers with 29% saying that an accommodation feeling like home is key and 24% sharing that a welcoming host is a make or break factor during the first 24 hours of their trip.

“Staying with Karen is like staying with your new best friend. You feel welcome the moment you walk in the door. She works hard to make your breakfast special and gives you more than the comforts you would get at home. We felt truly pampered,” said Virginia Persson, Booking Hero nominator from Vancouver Island, British Columbia in Canada. “Even more incredibly, just as we were losing hope towards the end of our stay, Karen helped us find Dave’s Scottish family which was the true purpose of our trip to Scotland. In this respect, she changed our lives.”

“What I enjoy most about what I do is meeting people from all walks of life from lots of different places, all coming to stay for different reasons,” said Karen McClelland, Booking Hero and Owner of Blackburn Villa B&B in Ayr, Scotland. “As I am welcoming people into my home, I want them to feel relaxed and able to ask anything of me. To be recognised as a Booking Hero is the ultimate confirmation that I am doing things right! But nothing compares to seeing the joy on Dave and Virginia’s faces when I was able to help them with their research and connect them with their Scottish roots. They’re more than just guests now, they’re friends.”

Booking.com is launching these winning Booking Hero stories today as the heart of a new campaign on social media with long-form video content that extends the #BookingHero message, with TV to follow.

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