Booking.com’s ticket to self-learning

by | Mar 14, 2018 | Case Studies, Evidence for Change, Featured, General

This article explains how the world’s best-known accommodation website used e-learning as an essential part of its strategy to deal with the challenges of rapid growth.

The Booking.com story also provides a leading example of how the learning self-directed model can release the full potential of its workforce.

The Challenge

With over a million properties across 226 countries, available in forty languages, Booking.com is the world’s best-known accommodation website.  In recent years the company has experienced impressive expansion and has seen employee numbers increase by 25-30% per annum, resulting in over 15,000 staff in 200 global locations.

Booking.com has a strong culture of internal promotion that recognises and nurtures talent from within and is characterised by an average management age of under 30 years old. In fact, up until to the end of 2016 70% of company managers were in their 1st management role, and inevitably with this came many questions and little experience.

In addition to this, the company also has a culture of self-directed learning. With many of the company’s learners relying on Google and other internet-based sources, reliability and verification of data sources was an issue that could easily undermine the quality of learning.

If Booking.com was to enjoy sustained growth it understood that it would have to provide a scalable, content-driven solution that would not only build, maintain and enhance leadership and management capabilities but also provide development support to all employees.

Key Objectives

The company didn’t want a generic, off-the-shelf solution. It was essential that the delivered solution matched the quality and design standards Booking.com demands from its own online product.

Development support required for all employees:

  • To produce verifiable sources of learning material
  • To move away from learning happening only in the classroom
  • To empower their employees (many of whom are Millennial learners) to own their self-development with validated sources of information
  • To create content to support booking.com’s way of doing things

To build and extend management capability:

  • To cater for the needs of many first-time managers
  • To provide materials that support and embed the company’s Management Recipe
    – 6 behaviours that define success

The solution would have to fulfil the learning expectations of its staff: to have instantly accessible and just-in-time learning to practically support the work they are doing. A consistent, universally available learning resource was required to support employees in the flow of work, wherever they were and whenever they needed it.


What you’ll learn in this case study

  • How e-learning can take company culture of self-directed learning to the next level of excellence
  • How a company that experiences sustained growth positioned e-learning to build, maintain and enhance leadership and management capabilities but also provide development support to all employees.
  • How to launch a new learning system that will grow and experience excellent levels of engagement
  • How user testing, analytics and A/B tests can ensure that your e-learning hits the road running
  • How AI technology can drive usage by providing recommended content, intelligently tailored to an individual user’s interests.

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By Laura Overton, Towards Maturity
Follow on Twitter: @LauraOverton @TowardsMaturity

The case study has been created as part of the Towards Maturity and Learning Technologies Awards Good Practice Partnership, established in 2011.

About Booking.com

With over a million properties across 226 countries, available in forty languages, Booking.com is the world’s best-known accommodation website.  In recent years the company has experienced impressive expansion and has seen employee numbers increase by 25-30% per annum, resulting in over 15,000 staff in 200 global locations.

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