Our company is committed to the regular publication of a CSR report, and we aim to continue to create and use benchmarks to expand our efforts and commit our resources in the areas where we believe we can make a difference. This report is intended to capture and illustrate the activities taking place across our brands — Booking.com, KAYAK, Priceline, Agoda, Rentalcars.com and OpenTable — on topics related to community engagement, the environment, employees, customer privacy and data protection, as well as governance.
*Throughout the report, figures in € have been converted into $ at a rate of 1.10.
Booking Holdings makes it easier for everyone to experience the world through seamless technology powered by our six major brands.
At Booking Holdings, we make it easier for everyone to experience the world every day through seamless technology powered by our six major brands.
This year, our industry is facing extreme challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the world, including the global travel industry, in unprecedented ways.
We at Booking Holdings believe that this global crisis makes our responsibility toward sustainability more important than ever. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities.” In the face of a pandemic, it is this holistic view that will allow us to lead our industry toward a more stable and inclusive future.
While COVID-19 has impacted some of our immediate plans, it hasn’t changed our mission: to make it easier for everyone to experience the world. Since our founding, we have worked to create a purpose-driven company focused not just on short-term profits and challenges, but on setting long-term goals that will benefit travelers today and for generations to come. This commitment to fostering sustainability—environmentally, socially, and as a corporation—supports us to weather the storms we are currently passing through without compromising our identity.
Looking back at 2019, we made important strides on our journey toward improving sustainability, and these efforts are captured in this report. We invested in companies and organizations that share our ambitious goals for sustainable travel. Last year, Booking.com’s CSR program changed its name from Booking Cares to the Booking Sustainability Team, reflecting our ongoing commitment to broader sustainability initiatives.
In 2020 and beyond, we will face challenges that we couldn’t have imagined even one year ago. However, we already knew that the road to a sustainable future would be a long and winding one and that it would require humility, strong partnerships, and perseverance. We remain committed to our path and undaunted by the obstacles we face.
The American novelist John Steinbeck wrote, “We do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” Here at Booking Holdings, I am struck by where our journey toward sustainability has taken us so far, and what that will mean in the years to come. We realize now more than ever that we can’t anticipate what the next year holds in store, but we continue to push forward with hope, courage, and confidence in what we can achieve. I invite you to join us.
Our mission is to make it easier for everyone to experience the world. We had $96.4 billion in gross bookings (the total dollar value, generally inclusive of taxes and fees, of all travel services booked by our customers, net of cancellations) in 2019, with more than 300 offices around the globe employing more than 26,000 people.
Number of volunteer hours contributed by employees across Booking Holdings’ brands in 2019.
Our CSR work was driven by our largest business and most global brand, Booking.com. In 2019, the brand’s CSR program changed its name from Booking Cares to the Booking Sustainability Team, reflecting Booking.com’s increased ambition and commitment to broader sustainability topics. Through three core programs under the umbrella of the Booking Sustainability Team, Booking.com supported sustainable tourism in varying ways.
an accelerator program that identified and funded sustainable tourism startups and provided €2 million ($2.2 million) in grants
a program where employees volunteer their time and expertise to partner with local organizations on projects that help improve destinations worldwide
Booking Cares Fund
a fund that provided €1.28 million
($1.4 million) in grants to nonprofit sustainable travel projects
KAYAK and OpenTable together launched their first corporate social responsibility program in 2019, Do Good, to harness the power of both brands to better the world together. Do Good is based on three pillars: communities, innovation and sustainability. Overall in 2019, 930 KAYAK and OpenTable employees volunteered for 26 projects, which accounted for 2,500 volunteer hours.
Priceline relaunched its volunteer program, Priceline LIFT, which included three paid days off for employees to volunteer their time. Through Priceline LIFT, 348 employees volunteered and the business supported 28 local nonprofit organizations in Connecticut, New York and Mumbai. Priceline also hosted its first volunteer service week, LIFTOFF. During that week, close to 450 employees representing every Priceline office gave back to communities through serving meals, donating blood and volunteering through other service programs. A total of 2,950 volunteer service hours were logged during this week.
In 2019, Agoda donated to the World Wide Fund for Nature International (WWF) to plant 6,000 trees in Northern Thailand as part of a test to involve partners in carbon offsetting.
Number of meals OpenTable employees provided to food-insecure families through OpenTable’s Giving Tuesday campaign.
For the third year in a row, OpenTable employees were able to donate their OpenTable dining points to No Kid Hungry, which provides food to children facing hunger in the U.S. during the winter holiday season. In 2019, they donated a total of 2.37 million meals.
Rentalcars.com partnered with Tech Returners, an independent charity based in Manchester, England, that provides support and services for both individuals and businesses working within the tech sector. Through this partnership, Rentalcars.com funded a 15-week course for candidates who are returning to work and interested in developing a career in tech.
Giving back to the communities in which we live, work and do business is essential to how we operate. Through sustainable tourism initiatives, giving and volunteerism, in 2019 we became even more ambitious in our desire to create a tangible positive difference to people, the environment and communities.
Booking Cares Fund provided €1.28 million ($1.4 million) in 2019 to support projects in the sustainable travel space.
Booking Booster supports innovation through an accelerator program for sustainable tourism startups that are ready to scale. The three-week program, which was in its third year in 2019, consisted of a series of lectures, hands-on workshops and coaching sessions, led entirely by Booking.com employees and experts. The program culminated in a final pitch by the startups to receive grants from Booking.com’s €2 million ($2.2 million) Booking Booster fund in order to support their next stage of growth.
Agoda launched CSR Day Off, a program that gives employees a formal avenue to request and take paid time to volunteer. Throughout the year, Agoda’s CSR Day Off accounted for 4,384 volunteer hours.
Priceline held its annual food bank drive, which generated close to $70,000 in support for local pantries. The business also delivered $75,000 in donations for William Shatner’s Charity, Horse Show, which funds over 15 foundations.
OpenTable supported Rise Against Hunger’s mission to end hunger by packing more than 60,000 meals to provide food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable.
Booking.com Sustainability Team
The core of our CSR activity was driven by our largest global business, Booking.com, with a focus on sustainable travel so that future travelers can continue to encounter a world full of destinations still worth exploring.
There is only one earth. As a company that encourages people to experience the unique places the world has to offer, we are acutely aware that we must model environmental stewardship and responsibility at every turn — starting with our own business. As an internet company that provides online travel and related services in more than 230 countries and territories around the world, which is powered by 17 major data centers, we focus on mitigating the environmental impact of our businesses through decreasing energy use and emissions.
TOTAL SCOPE 1 & 2
(METRIC TONS CO2e)
2018 ENERGY USE
TOTAL ENERGY CONSUMPTION (MWh)
% change: 2018 emissions increased 21% from 2017 on an absolute basis
2018 INCREASE IN ENERGY CONSUMPTION
2017 ENERGY USE (MWh):
2018 ENERGY USE (MWh):
% change: 2018 energy use increased 22% from 2017 on an absolute basis
*We’ve estimated consumption totals for 2018, which is the most recent year with available data, based on office area and climate zone, and we are working to gain more actual consumption data for each of our facilities (and the resulting energy and emissions impacts) for future reporting.
In 2019, KAYAK and OpenTable employees founded the Global Green Team, which is now part of their combined CSR program, Do Good, with the goal of reducing the carbon footprint at work and aligning green practices across offices. Among other initiatives, the Green Team led concerted efforts to turn off laptops and screens at the end of the workday and to increase timed lighting to reduce energy use.
As part of the Booking Sustainability Team’s efforts, Booking.com is working to remove single-use plastics in all offices in 2020.
In 2019, Booking.com’s LGBTQ+ Employee Network Group, B.Proud, won the award for Most Engaged Network by the Workplace Pride Foundation, which singles out individuals and organizations who commit their time and effort to create safe and inclusive workplaces for LGBTQ+ people.
Booking.com was ranked #1 by the Financial Times on its list of Europe’s most diverse and inclusive companies.
Five members of the Booking Holdings Board of Directors are women.
of the brand CFOs across the company are women
Booking.com provided scholarships worth €500,000 ($551,000) to female undergraduate and postgraduate students attending Spelman College and Cornell University in the U.S. and Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology and the Indian Institute of Science in India to bring more women into key tech programs.
Collectively as an organization, we work to foster an environment that uplifts the physical and emotional health of our employees. In 2019, Booking.com built and launched its employee well-being portal, B.Well @ Booking, which includes tools and resources covering the areas of social, mental, physical and emotional health. The brand also sponsored Global Wellbeing Week, during which employees from 167 offices actively participated in health and well-being talks and workshops.
Across our brands, we have introduced specific initiatives to help embed a culture of integrity. For example, in 2019 all brands launched Ethics Moments: manager-led live training sessions designed to foster an ethical tone in the middle by allowing teams to stop, think, and talk about the real-life application of topics together as a team. In 2019, the program saw success across all brands and will continue to be rolled out to deeper levels of the organization in 2020.
With a global footprint and more than 26,000 employees representing more than 150 nationalities, diversity and inclusivity are values embedded at the very core of our business and the risk of discrimination and non-inclusion is something we act strongly against. In 2019, Booking Holdings was ranked by Forbes as a Best Employer for Diversity, and Booking.com was ranked No. 1 on the Financial Times’ workplace diversity and inclusion list for European employers.
All of our brands are committed to operating according to our Code of Conduct, within which we set out core privacy principles, including commitments to transparency to customers, purpose limitation, honoring customer choice, security of personal information, honoring individual rights and holding ourselves accountable to these commitments.
Our privacy and security teams help us protect our customers’ data and develop practical ways to manage personal information through training, technology, security and policies. Our privacy program across the brands has set policies and governance, so our customers know that they can trust how we collect, use and protect their personal information. In 2020, all employees at all brands will receive mandatory training on privacy and data protection, and more specific role-based training will be given where appropriate.
We have governance practices and policies in place to ensure that our business conduct and performance aligns with the interests and expectations of stockholders and other stakeholders.
The Board of Directors provides oversight and counsel to management and represents the interests of stockholders. The board as of December 31, 2019, was composed of 13 members, 11 of whom are independent directors, including an independent lead director. Of these 13 members, five are women (38 percent) and two are people of color (15 percent). There are three board committees: Audit, Compensation and Nominating, and Corporate Governance. Only independent directors serve on the committees. For more information about our corporate governance policies and practices, see the “For Investors” tab on our corporate website (www.bookingholdings.com).