As a large and growing company in a rapidly shifting industry, our approach to Corporate Social Responsibility continues to evolve as we solidify our long-term vision for the company, and expand the breadth of brands and services we offer to consumers worldwide.
This report is an important step in disclosing more about our CSR efforts. Moving forward, we will continue to closely review the company’s overall strategies, create and use benchmarks to expand our efforts and commit our resources in the areas where we believe we can make a difference.
Booking Holdings makes it easier for everyone to experience the world every day 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.
With operations in more than 230 countries and territories worldwide, our teams work around the clock to build and improve the technology that empowers people to more freely travel across borders, time zones, languages and cultures. We fundamentally believe that travel can bring out the best in humanity, which is why we continue to invest in our brands and our people to grow our business so that our technology can reach more people across the globe.
While I am incredibly proud of the global business we have built, I am continually reminded of an often-cited line by Sir Winston Churchill: “The price of greatness is responsibility.” As a global Fortune 500 company, we have a responsibility not just to our customers, our employees and our shareholders, but to the world that we are working so hard to make it easier for everyone to experience every day. We believe that the management of a company’s environmental and social impacts is not only the right thing to do, but also a key part of this responsibility.
In 2018, we committed more resources than ever to varying Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts including initiatives to promote sustainable tourism, improve global business and tech industry diversity, reduce environmental footprints and create and improve healthier workplaces for our more than 24,000 employees across more than 300 office locations around the world. Some highlights include the second annual Booking Booster program, pioneered by our largest global brand Booking.com. Through this program, 10 start-ups dedicated to sustainable tourism received grants totaling €2 million. Booking Cares, Booking.com’s flagship volunteer program that encompasses Booking Booster, amassed more than 30,979 hours of local community service across 447 projects in 2018.
Our brands also continue to lead efforts promoting increased awareness of gender parity issues, particularly within the technology sector. Recently OpenTable announced a commitment to 50/50 gender equity globally, and Booking.com launched their inaugural Women in Tech Program, which provides scholarships and mentoring programs to women seeking to further their education and advancement in the technology and STEM sector. Two of our most global brands, Booking.com and Agoda, are comprised of more than 50% women, and with more than 150 nationalities across our 24,000+ employee base worldwide, we believe that our workplaces should reflect our customers and communities because it is both good business and good for the local economies.
These are initiatives I am very proud of, but this is just the beginning. We recognize that there is still more to be done and we are committed to ensuring a more sustainable future so that anyone, anywhere can experience the world for generations to come.
Our mission is to make it easier for everyone to experience the world. We believe that by making it easier to experience the world, we are doing our part to make humanity better. Our company had $92.7 billion in gross bookings in 2018. We are headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, with more than 300 offices around the globe. Across our brands, we employ more than 24,000 people.
Booking Holdings conducted its first enterprise-wide carbon footprint analysis.
Booking Holdings sponsored the 2018 Pride Parade in New York City, with all US-based businesses participating in the parade.
Booking Holdings was ranked by Forbes in their “Best Employers for Women” and “World’s Best Employers” lists.
In 2018, employees in the tech department nominated and recognized internal technology playmakers — employees who had either been a role model or were active in driving diversity within the workplace. They also launched an internal mentorship program, focused on accelerating the development of women employees — developers, designers, data scientists and team leaders — in growing their technical and/or leadership career.
With more than 50% of the workforce comprised of women at Agoda, a grassroots women’s network was formed — bringing together women from all departments across the organization. Fireside chat panels are held featuring dynamic women leaders in the organization throughout the year. Agoda’s desire to improve support and recognition of women leaders also led to the launch of its inaugural Women’s Leadership Initiative. The intensive program was driven by a cohort of senior and emerging tech and non-tech leaders with a focus on cross-cultural leadership, unconscious bias and transformations. A second cohort will be launched in 2019.
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.
Priceline donated more than 1,000 turkeys for its Thanksgiving Turkey Drive, an annual tradition that has taken place for more than 10 years.
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.
The company’s Mental Health First Aiders programs supports colleagues suffering from mental health issues by introducing them to practical steps they can take to maintain good mental health. In addition, the organization is equipping managers with the information they need to spot and handle employee mental health issues.
To reduce the stigma, Rentalcars.com has focused on raising consciousness of this often-misunderstood issue. During Mental Health Awareness Week, employees took advantage of onsite massage therapists and workshops on resilience, stress, anxiety, meditation, yoga and mindfulness. During that week, colleagues were encouraged to share their own stories. The positive reception to these stories modeled that it was OK to discuss mental health and that the company is there to offer support to ensure the good mental health and wellbeing of employees.
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.
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.
TOTAL DONATION TO EMERGENCY RESPONSE INITIATIVES
BOOKING BOOSTER TOTAL GRANT FUND
BOOKING CARES TOTAL GRANT FUND
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.
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.
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.
“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
Across our brands, we are focused on mitigating the environmental impact of our business by increasing efficiencies, decreasing waste and adopting more sustainable practices. We have offices in more than 70 countries and territories around the world, and we are powered by 16 major data centers, which are leased in the U.S., the U.K., Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, Russia, Hong Kong and China.
Nearly all of our energy use and emissions are from electricity use in our leased office spaces and data centers. Because we lease our office spaces and data centers, we are limited in our ability to address the source of our energy use directly. Our purchase of renewable energy reflects what is available for purchase in the electricity grid in the countries where our office spaces and data centers are located.
TOTAL SCOPE 1&2 (TONNES CO2e)
TOTAL ENERGY CONSUMPTION (MWh)
Our highest source of water consumption comes from our data centers, and because we lease all of our data centers, we do not have access to the data on water use. But across our offices, we are reducing our water use through a number of water efficiency initiatives, such as installing low-flow and automatic faucets.
Our company and brands share a common commitment to help others experience the world. We work hard and take great pride in what we do.
We launched an initiative called Ethics Moments, periodic manager-led discussions in which managers and their teams stop, think, and talk about compliance and ethics topics, initiatives or policies.
The first part of this effort was a company-wide survey, which assessed the overall ethical culture and the Program’s effectiveness. The survey found that while we have a strong ethical culture, there were opportunities for improvement. Employees reported that unethical behavior is underreported and expressed a desire for more awareness about the company’s Compliance & Ethics Program.
With more than 150 nationalities across our employee base worldwide, diversity is at the core of our company culture, and we are committed to making our company one of the most diverse and gender-balanced tech companies in the world. We believe that when our workplaces reflect our customers and communities, we create a stronger business and a better future.
In 2018, Booking Holdings was ranked on Forbes’ list of the “Best Employers for Women”.
Five (38%) members on the Booking Holdings’ Board of Directors are women.
In 2018, 50% of the brand CFOs across the company were women.
Employee resource groups are one example of how employees find connection and engagement. These groups, such as Agoda’s Life Groups, provide spaces for employees to share their interests, backgrounds and talents. OpenTable’s family-friendly benefits earned it a “Healthy Mothers Workplace Award.”
As a corporation, we are continuously looking for ways to promote inclusive cultures. Recently, Booking.com conducted a cultural assessment of the Leadership Team and held workshops on inclusion and unconscious bias training for corporate employees.
We continue to focus on developing women leaders and recently completed the third, and largest, cohort of the Booking Holdings Women in Leadership Program, which brings together women leaders across our six businesses to provide mentorship and facilitate networking. In 2018, we launched an alumnae community for the current and future graduates to connect and network.
We spend a lot of time evaluating new investments to keep privacy at the heart of our mission and the services we provide.
All of our brands operate according to key principles of privacy protection, while each brand is responsible for its own privacy program, employee training, compliance and third-party partnerships.
Booking.com operates to the strictest security standards which are enshrined in their privacy principles. These principles ensure that Booking.com complies with GDPR and that they strictly only use customer data to serve customers in line with their expectations.
Rentalcars.com rolled out a mandatory privacy and security training for all employees, and developers also had secure code training.
KAYAK completed a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) plan, resulting in 65 million inactive user accounts deleted. All KAYAK offices with engineering or marketing employees were trained in person. KAYAK also successfully deleted legacy data and semi-automated its data subject rights practice.
OpenTable achieved SOC 2 certification, an auditing procedure to ensure industry-leading privacy standards are met for customer data. As of Q4 2018, OpenTable was live with GDPR on both its consumer and restaurant systems.
Our company has governance practices and policies in place to ensure 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. As of December 2018, the Board is composed of 13 members, the majority of whom are independent, including an independent lead director.
There are three Board committees: Audit, Compensation, and Nominating & Corporate Governance. Only independent directors serve on the committees.