2018 Corporate Responsibility

Community Engagement

Caring deeply for the communities in which we operate is a foundational belief across our companies.

We are proud of our brands’ philanthropy, volunteerism and giving programs that span the globe and positively impact the environment, people and communities.

Booking Cares, the epicenter of our CSR activity driven by our largest business, Booking.com, is focused on transforming the global travel experience into a powerful force for good through a series of bold initiatives — Booking Booster, Booking Cares Fund, Booking Cares Labs and Cares Volunteers — that support and scale sustainable tourism.

By The Numbers 2018


Volunteer Hours







Booking Cares volunteers donated 30,979 hours to 447 projects 5,140 employees from 191 offices participated in the Booking Cares program.


Total donation to emergency response initiatives


Booking Booster total grant fund


Booking Cares total grant fund


Booking Booster

Launched in 2017, the Booking Booster program works to support innovation within the sustainable tourism industry by giving start-ups the tools, skills, resources and networks they need to create lasting change.

In 2018, 10 start-ups were given the opportunity to pitch for grants of up to €500,000. They received three weeks of coaching and workshops with Booking.com experts before pitching their plans to a live audience and panel of judges. The ten winners, who came from six different countries and operated across six continents, including Antarctica, were awarded grants from the €2 million Booking Booster Fund.

“One of the biggest benefits of mentoring and working together with these inspiring start-ups and changemakers is that it also introduces new ideas to the Booking.com business and helps invigorate our own people.”

Marianne Gybels, Head of CSR Booking.com

The 2018 winners

 Spotlight: Sakha Supports Women Drivers

Sakha, a 2018 Booking Booster award winner, provides safe and reliable transportation services for women by women across India. In doing so, Sakha provides women with an unconventional, sustainable and dignified livelihood.

There was no market for women-driven transportation services in India in 2008, when the company started. As part of the Women on Wheels program, delivered in collaboration with the Azad Foundation, Sakha employed women chauffeurs to provide safe transport to more than one million women across Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata and Indore over the years. To date, Sakha has provided remunerative employment with dignity in transport to more than 500 women.

Many women drivers trained through Women on Wheels have been able to find jobs as chauffeurs employed by organizations and individuals, bus drivers, valets at prestigious institutions and driving instructors for other women.

Sakha enables resource-poor women in urban India to reclaim their dignity, rebuild their identity and be self-reliant, both socially and financially. By providing safe transport to women, Sakha has also contributed to increased mobility and safety of women in the cities, including foreign female travelers.


Booking Cares Fund

Another initiative is the Booking Cares Fund, which was launched at the end of 2017 to support the wider sustainable tourism industry and all players within it.

The Fund champions non-profit sustainable travel projects which present new and unexpected solutions to reimagine the industry. Projects come from and take place all over the world representing universities, non-profits, research institutes and governments.

These initiatives are only the beginning of how Booking.com is supporting sustainable tourism for the long-term. Looking toward the future, the business will look to expand by integrating sustainability features into the brand’s products.

The first-ever Booking Cares fund recipients received grants between €100K and €250K and included:

A ground-breaking research project that aims to understand the effects of nature-based tourism on behavioral change.

A platform to provide accessible tourism information, services and cultural experience opportunities for Chinese travelers over age 60 (220 million people) and with a disability (85 million people).

A cutting-edge hospitality academy in South Africa for disadvantaged women.


Booking Cares Labs

At the end of 2017, Booking Booster gave rise to Booking Cares Labs, which supports early-stage sustainable tourism start-ups through high-intensity, three-day regional programs in places around the globe such as Amsterdam, Tel Aviv and Barcelona.

  Spotlight: Cares Volunteerism

For the past four years, the Booking.com Cares Volunteer Program has enlisted employees to contribute their time and expertise to help improve destinations worldwide. The program’s participation rate has remained consistent at 40% even as the company has grown.

Recently, Booking Cares volunteers have:

Restored the beautiful coral ecosystem in Sattahip, Chonburi by coming together to plant new corals and raise awareness of the importance of conserving the underwater environment.


Lent a hand to the National Elephant Conservation Center in Kuala Lumpur by scrubbing the paddocks and assisting with maintenance and landscaping, giving these rescued elephants a more suitable home.

  Spotlight: OpenTable’s Giving Tuesday

OpenTable has been a national sponsor and partner of Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign for the past 12 years. The campaign works to end childhood hunger in America.

OpenTable sits at the center of a marketplace between diners and restaurants. With this in mind, the brand conceived of a campaign to allow diners to tap into the season of giving while leveraging OpenTable’s strong diner and restaurant networks. For two weeks, starting on Giving Tuesday, OpenTable diners were able to donate their OpenTable Dining Points to the Share the Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign.

The results of the 2018 campaign far exceeded expectations:

At the campaign’s conclusion, 28,000+ people donated a total of 2,480,000 meals. When added with the 250,000-meal match by OpenTable, the campaign generated a total of 2,730,000 meals.

With an initial goal for this campaign to generate 500,000 meals total, the campaign exceeded its goal.

Stepping up in Communities

Other brands are doing their part to develop and execute their own social impact programming that aligns with their priorities and passions.


Agoda launched its official CSR program in 2018 with a goal to support and scale employee-nominated projects that address a key issue in local communities.

Through this program, the company has supported Doctors Without Borders, donating $50,000 at the end of 2018. Other localized projects have taken place across Asia. In the Thailand office, more than 70 employees got together for the Give a Dam project, where employees built a check-dam in the Phetchaburi forest to help sustain wildlife in the forest.

In Myanmar, the Agoda team held an event in collaboration with Thant Myanmar to raise awareness on reducing plastic usage in the tourism sector. Employees provided training and toolkits and helped Agoda hotel partners set commitments to reduce single-use plastics in their properties. 71 hotels participated, and 73% set plastic reduction commitments.


In Singapore, the team participated in the AmCham Walk for Rice event, contributing one bowl of rice for every 100m walked.

There have also been numerous other local efforts in India, Hong Kong, and Indonesia, as Agoda continues to support issues that matter to the different markets in their own unique ways.

In addition, Priceline donated more than 1,000 turkeys for its Thanksgiving Turkey Drive, an annual tradition that has taken place for more than 10 years.

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