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Booking.com Doubles Its Support for Startups and Changemakers in Sustainable Tourism in 2018

December 5, 2017 OTA News No Comments Email Email

Building on its successful launch in 2017, today Booking.com, one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies and digital technology leader, is announcing the 2018 Booking Booster Programme, a three-week accelerator in Amsterdam for social enterprise scale-ups in sustainable tourism. In addition to the €2 million in grants awarded through Booking Booster, the company is also announcing its plans to further expand its efforts to support organisations and individuals throughout the broader sustainable tourism industry with two new additional initiatives for a total of more than €4 million in support available in 2018.

The first new programme is the Booster Labs, a series of short, regionally-focussed weekend programmes that are slated to run globally throughout 2018, dedicated to giving early-stage startups in sustainable tourism the insights, tools and skills they need to grow and increase their impact. The second new initiative is the Booking Cares Fund, a separate €2 million grant programme to champion individual non-profit changemakers in sustainable tourism and support their search for new and unexpected solutions to strengthen local communities, preserve and promote culture, protect natural resources and spread tourism activities more evenly.

“The Booking Booster, our new Booking Booster Labs initiative and the Booking Cares Fund have all been specially designed to support important, innovative players in different sectors throughout the entire sustainable tourism ecosystem,” said Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com. “By identifying, funding and mentoring early stage start-ups, social enterprises scale-ups and the non-profit projects and changemakers from universities, governments and NGOs that bring them all together, we can help make an even more meaningful impact. We can empower people and organisations to affect real change to help further a healthy and sustainable future for thousands of destinations all around the world.”

Booking Booster: Accelerator programme for social enterprise scale-ups 

For the 2018 Booking Booster Programme, Booking.com will select and invite a small group of social enterprises in the sustainable tourism sector that are ready to scale their business plans to a three-week accelerator programme in Amsterdam in May 2018.

The programme will consist of a series of lectures, hands-on workshops and coaching sessions, culminating in a final pitch to receive a grant of up to €500,000 from Booking.com’s €2 million fund in order to help support the next stage of projected growth for the participating scale-ups. All the social enterprises will also receive several months of ongoing mentoring and coaching from Booking.com experts, as well as opportunities and access to collaborate with Booking.com on potential innovation initiatives and experiments to help accelerate their future growth.

Applications open as of today (December 4th, 2017), so visit the Booking Booster section on the Booking Cares website for more details.

Booster Labs: Weekend programmes for early-stage startups 

In order to help foster and encourage entrepreneurial startups in sustainable tourism at the very earliest stages of their development, Booking.com is introducing the Booster Labs to provide them with the insights, tools and skills they need to grow and increase their impact.

Over the course of a weekend, a select group of 10 – 15 startups will participate in hands-on workshops and lectures presented by experts in startup growth and sustainable tourism. They will also be paired with Booking.com mentors to provide guidance and support as they explore growth-hacking opportunities for their businesses. The weekend programmes culminate with each startup pitching their proposed roadmap to a jury of industry experts to win grants between €10,000 and €25,000 from a separate fund specifically set up for the Booster Labs.

The first Booster Lab weekend has just taken place in Barcelona with the next due to take place in Tel Aviv from March 1 – 3rd 2018, for which applications open on December 11thSee the Booster Labs section on the Booking.com Cares website for more information and upcoming application deadlines for additional startup weekends planned for Asia in summer 2018.

Booking Cares Fund: Grant programme for non-profit changemakers

With the new €2 million Booking Cares Fund, Booking.com wants to also provide support to disruptive innovators in the non-profit realm that are passionate about making a difference in the sustainable tourism industry.

Coming from a broad range of non-profit backgrounds, including higher education, government, and NGOs, Booking.com is looking for individual changemakers that have ground-breaking, innovative projects to support. Leaders with bold, ambitious ideas to truly transform the sustainable tourism industry will be awarded with grants between €100,000 and €250,000 based on their grant applications. Entries will be judged on a project’s potential to produce meaningful change that can scale. The projects must be backed by data and be able to produce measurable results.

Applications for the Booking Cares Fund open as of today (December 4th). For more information and application details, visit the Booking Cares Fund section of the Booking.com website.

Booking Booster, the new Booster Labs and the Booking Cares Fund sit alongside Booking.com’s internal volunteer programme, Booking Cares, where employees have long partnered with local organisations on projects that help improve destinations worldwide. Together these initiatives make up and further expand Booking.com’s Booking Cares commitment.

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