The leading travel website Booking.com recently unveiled the three incredible travel stories that won its first-ever Booking Hero competition in long-form video content.
What do 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? All saw a hospitality professional going out of their way to make or save someone’s trip.
Following thousands of submissions via social media, Booking.com have selected the three most touching and inspiring accounts of hospitality professionals going above and beyond to create unique and unforgettable travel experiences for their guests. 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.
These stories are now available for the world to see. The characters are a B&B owner in Scotland who helped a Canadian customer find the house where his father was born before emigrating 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.
The Booking Hero winner rewarded with 25,000 euro (Bt960,000) in travel credit on Booking.com goes to the story of Karen, owner of Blackburn Villa B&B in Ayr of Scotland, that is nominated by David and Virginia from Canada. The touching story can be seen at https://youtu.be/qtQiC2CnBiA
One runner-up, who receives 5,000 euro in travel credit are Sudarshi, owner of Tunnel Gap Homestay in Ella, Sri Lanka, nominated by Harry and Nienke from the Netherlands. Go to https://youtu.be/syDo8QjI-14 for the story.
Another runner-up who also receives 5,000 euro (Bt190,000) in travel credit on Booking.com is Alina, receptionist at citizenM Hotel in New York City, nominated by Els and Kevin from Belgium. Visit https://youtu.be/pDKOOB8MUxs to see what happens.
“These stunning stories are testament to the incredible dedication, commitment and passion that our partners put into creating truly memorable experiences for travellers day in and day out,” said Pepijn Rijvers, CMO of Booking.com. “They beautifully demonstrate that an amazing trip is about more than simply finding the right destination or the perfect accommodation – it’s also about the people you meet along the way which truly make for an unforgettable journey. And that’s what travel is all about.”
According to recent research conducted by Booking.com across 25 markets last year, a personal connection is essential for many travellers with 29 per cent saying that an accommodation feeling like home is key and 24 per cent sharing that a welcoming host is a make or break factor during the first 24 hours of their trip.
This sentiment is echoed the winner. “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,” she says.