Following success in the US and Canada, Booking.com has announced the launch of Booking Now in the UK.
A new mobile app that revolutionises the on-demand travel space, Booking Now provides a completely personalised booking experience tailored to individual customer preferences and location.
Here Breaking Travel News sits down with Booking.com area manager Jason Grist to discuss the new app.
Breaking Travel News: Booking.com is bringing Booking Now to market in the UK. Can you tell us a little about this product and the research that suggests travel consumers have a need for the app?
Jason Grist: Our customers on the website and on our multi-platform Booking.com app have access to our full inventory – over 600,000 properties and fantastic content, including over 42 million reviews and, of course, our best price guarantee.
We have recently seen a shift in customer behaviour over the last year or two for more last-minute, or what we call ‘spontaneous bookings’.
This has led us to raise the bar on a quality experience for those booking last-minute by creating the easy-to-use Booking Now app with the same access to our properties.
We feel that the app itself is the best possible experience for our customers booking up to two days in advance.
The difference between what our customers are used to and the new app is that it takes into account a personalised service.
New geo-technology uses your exact location to find recommendations for accommodation, as well as a personalised user profile, enabling us choose an accommodation that is really what you are looking for, taking into account your budget and preference for amenities.
Once you’ve chosen, you can be booking that accommodation in as quickly as two taps.
BTN: I believe the app has successfully launched in the United States already? What sort of response did Booking.com receive there with the launch and what would constitute a successful launch here in the UK?
JG: It’s only been month since we launched the Booking Now app in the States but the initial response has been really positive.
It’s an extremely innovative product and has been warmly welcomed.
The true measure of success in the UK, and globally, will be whether our customers like it and therefore use it.
As with every single one of our products, we’ll be monitoring our customers’ feedback extremely closely and will definitely be developing the app further in light of this.
Booking.com presently offers over 600,000 properties around the world
BTN: Booking.com recently added the 600,000th property to its listing, a farmhouse in Bouteilles-Saint-Sébastien, France, less than a year after it passed the half a million properties milestone. You have also moved beyond simple hotel accommodation, with more holiday rentals and adventurous accommodations such as tree houses, castles and lighthouses, now included. How do you see the site growing in terms of accommodation variety in the future?
JG: We are excited about passing the 600,000th milestone, but we have no intention of stopping there.
We have a clear mantra – to make sure that we have every type of property available to satisfy travellers of all backgrounds – irrespective of budget.
If this means getting every type of accommodation, that’s what we’ll do.
BTN: Security is an ever present issue for mobile technology providers, with Booking.com itself recently falling victim to a series phishing scam. Can you tell us what the organisation is doing to protect the data of its users?
JG: There have been examples where we have seen phishing scams in the past, I think it’s fair to say that this is the plight of our industry and it’s been an issue for quite some time.
Regarding recent events, we have done everything in our power to keep people informed. Since the original cases we have made sure that we have updated our security and done everything possible to protect our customers and partners.
As far as we are aware, the phishing incidences appear to be limited to mainland Europe, and to a few cases, which our dedicated security team is responding to on a case-by-case basis.