What it does: Booking.com is a travel e-commerce company that provides accommodation, flight-ticketing and car rental services.
Best known for: The world’s leading site for online hotel and other travel booking services.
Staff stats: 18,000 employees in 200 offices in 70 countries.
The good bits: Diverse culture. Various financial perks and non-monetary benefits.
The not-so-good bits: Extended work hours.
Booking.com B.V. is a travel company that offers travel, accommodation reservations and other related services. Established in 1996 in Amsterdam (Netherlands), the firm lists over 28 million total accommodation options on its website, and is available in 43 languages. As of 2018, it has accommodation reservation services of around 2.18 million properties spread across 230 countries and territories. Of these, 436,000 are hotels, motels and resorts while 1.75 million are homes, apartments and other places.
In 2018, Booking.com ventured into car-rental and other ground transportation services with the launch of Rentalcars.com. The site lets customers make rental car reservations in more than 55,000 locations and at over 900 airports worldwide.
Booking.com is the flagship company of the US-based online travel conglomerate Booking Holdings, which acquired Booking.com for US$133 million in 2005. Its acquisition reversed the parent company’s financial position from a loss of US$19 million in 2001 to US$1.1 billion in profit in 2011.
Booking.com Thailand Co. Ltd. is one of the support companies based in Bangkok. Established in 2004, the firm provides in-country and customer care support for the parent company.
The firm has a list of 36,000 hotels and accommodations throughout Thailand, ranging from modest beachfront bungalows to luxurious hotels in the world.
The company neither provides online-reservations service nor manages or maintains the Booking.com website. It is also unauthorised to act as Booking.com’s process or service agents.
Booking.com looks for candidates who are problem-solvers, enthusiastic, adaptable, results-oriented, open-minded, customer-oriented, articulate and hold well-developed critical thinking skills. The firm recommends candidates prepare a solid and well-structured resume and concise cover letter, with links to their online profiles, social media, blog or personal website.
Candidates can send their resume and cover letter online through the corporate website. The next stage of the hiring process is a phone call from a member of the organisation’s talent acquisition team for the initial screening to determine their general skills and personality.
Aspiring software developers and engineers will take an online test after passing the phone interview. They will be given the hacker-rank test, which is a test about coding and programming problems in the different computer science subjects in algorithms, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Successful candidates will receive another call within a week to take the technical interview. They will then be invited for a panel interview either at the closest Booking.com office or at the headquarters in Amsterdam. Flights, accommodations and other arrangements will be organised by the company if the interviews are to take place in the Netherlands.
The hiring manager conducts the panel interview, where the questions are technical and job- related. Situational interview questions, basic troubleshooting skills and business processes/skills will also be asked.
Candidates can apply for the job roles available in the organisation’s customer service, accounting and human resources (HR) departments. The firm looks for applicants who are fluent in English and Thai, customer-oriented, proactive, flexible and a team player. It also looks for problem-solving individuals who can attend to all types of customer enquiries and concerns
Graduates can submit their resume and cover letter online on the corporate website. They can immediately take the competency examination consisting of English and Thai language and customer-service simulation tests that must be completed within an hour.
Successful candidates will receive the email within a week from the talent acquisition group to arrange the phone-screening interview, which is about general skills and attitude-related questions. After passing the interview, they will be scheduled for a panel dialogue at the Bangkok office.
Some of the questions that will be asked during the panel interview may include:
The following are the available positions for graduates and their reported monthly salaries (in euros): language specialist 3,300-4,500; talent acquisition specialist 3,000-4,200 euro; payroll specialist 2,400-3,300; customer service representative 2,400-3,200; software engineer 3,700-5,300; android developer 4,300-6,000; java developer 3,500-5,000.
The following are the available positions for graduates and their reported monthly salaries (in baht): customer service representative 19,000-25,000; HR assistant 18,000-25,000; project coordinator 22,000-29,000, accounting clerk 20,000-26,000; customer care specialist 18,000-24,000; account coordinator 18,000-24,000.
While career advancement is limited, opportunities for financial perks are favourable. Employees will enjoy the 13th-month salary, quarterly bonuses that average 12%, relocation and commuting allowances. They can also receive an annual increase in basic salary, depending on their performance.
Upon joining the organisation, employees can participate in in-house training and seminar courses. In particular, the firm partnered with online learning platform Udemy Inc. to launch Udemy for Business. The program offers short courses in management and leadership development, web development, public speaking and data science. The average user spends around five hours learning on the platform. With the Udemy app available on smartphones, employees can download and study the course anytime and anywhere.
In addition, the firm collaborates with Geekuni, a London-based institute that offers online software development courses, to train new software developers in the perl programming language. They receive comprehensive training as Geekuni assesses their perl skills, measures and reports progress with quantified learning outcomes.
New employees taking on customer service representative (CSR) roles will take a four-week paid training period to familiarise themselves with the right tools, methods and processes of taking customer calls. Supervisors or team leaders will guide and teach fresh call centre hires during operations on the production floor. Weekly feedback and coaching with team leaders is conducted to improve their skill sets, customer service abilities and help them achieve and exceed their key performance indicators (KPIs). Online training courses are also periodically given to enhance and update their technical skills.
The work environment is said to be enthusiastic as employees are friendly and supportive of their colleagues. Management is approachable, making the workplace more positive and productive. Problems and challenges at work are dealt with less difficulty as managers are hands-on to ensure day-to-day operations run smoothly.
The financial incentives given to top-performing teams and individuals add to the competitive environment. These perks encourage coworkers to improve continuously, comparing each other’s performances as motivation to be better. They try to outdo each other in a friendly and productive way.
The work environment is said to be fast-paced and energetic as employees attend daily to customer calls and resolve concerns about modifications to rooms, rates and availability as well as special or technical requests. They also have to render service to the company’s various partners to ensure their positive experience. CSRs have to take as many customer and partner calls as they can but have to maintain a high customer satisfaction level in the hopes of boosting their KPIs.
In addition, the pleasant and collaborative relationship among employees and team leaders makes the workload more manageable. Each team needs to work consistently and efficiently to reach their daily, weekly and monthly performance metrics to earn the financial perks and bonuses.
As part of its social responsibility, Booking.com launched Booking Cares, a programme that supports innovation in the tourism industry. In 2019, six projects received two million euro in funding, through this programme, to assist non-profit tourism activities. Ranging from projects related to animal welfare, emerging technologies and protecting the world’s oceans, all of the initiatives received financial support.
New employees will feel positive about coming to work because of the significant support the organisation gives them. Aside from the financial rewards, the company provides a wide-range of benefits such as pension plans, health insurance, travel opportunities, booking and accommodation discounts, company outings and special events.
Employees will feel motivated to report to work regularly due to the attractive financial incentives the organisation offers, especially to top performers. The company also provides non-monetary benefits in health insurance, booking discounts, free buffet lunches, team-building events and an annual lavish party.
However, the long work hours and the pressure of keeping the CSRs’ performance metrics at high levels may lead to negative effects such as stress, health risks, and weak work-life balance.