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Booking.com Opens Nominations for Technology Playmaker Awards 2019 to Celebrate and Recognize Inspiring Women in Technology

Booking.com 17 September 2018
AMSTERDAM -- Today, Booking.com, one of the world's largest travel e-commerce companies launched the Technology Playmaker Awards 2019. Introduced by Booking.com in 2017, the awards aim to recognize and celebrate women who are pushing the boundaries of innovation in technology and inspiring future generations of female technology leaders to do the same. This year, the awards are open to nominations from any country, to spotlight the diversity of talent in the global technology sector and encourage more girls and women worldwide to enter and succeed in the field. Nominations can be submitted at http://techplaymakerawards.com, in any language, before December 22nd, 2018.Following the success of the inaugural awards, the Booking.com Technology Playmaker Awards 2019 are now open for global entries at http://www.techplaymakerawards.comWinners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London, UK, on March 13th, 2019As part of Booking.com's commitment to drive awareness of gender diversity in the global technology sector, the awards shine a light on women making an impact with technology and inspiring futurefemale tech leadersOver one in two (52%) women working in technology or students interested in the field say a lack of visible role models or mentors across the global tech sector is a major barrier to entry, according to new Booking.com research.Winners will be selected in seven distinct award categories, each of which celebrates a different aspect of achievement in technology: Role Model, Young Technologist, Business Leader, Digital Leader, Employer Award, Community Impact Award and Tech Innovator. The awards are open to women at all levels in any technology or IT-related field who are disrupting or transforming business, industry or communities using technology. The Employer Award recognizes an organization that has made significant progress in achieving gender diversity and inclusion in IT and technology.The overall Booking.com Technology Playmaker of the Year 2019 will be chosen from among the individual category winners, and will be the person who our judging panel of industry leaders, politicians and academics consider to have made the most impactful change in the global technology sector. In identifying and championing remarkable examples of leadership, courage, ingenuity, tenacity and innovation in technology, the awards aim to empower the next generation of women to consider a career in tech and advance dialogue on the need for greater diversity. Each category winner will receive a monetary prize of EUR5,000 to help advance business and professional goals, with the overall winner collecting a EUR10,000 award."Encouraging more women to join and flourish in the tech sector is essential if innovation is to reflect and nurture the diverse communities that surround us. Creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce takes collaborative effort from companies, both inside and outside their own walls, as well as individuals whose example carries immense power to positively shape the collective destiny of this sector," says Gillian Tans, Booking.com CEO."We need to create an environment in which more girls and women are encouraged to enter the field, and given more opportunities to advance, thrive and succeed. While there is more work to be done, great strides are being made thanks to the kind of businesses, communities and individuals we seek to unearth and recognize through the Booking.com Technology Playmaker Awards."New global research from Booking.com sheds light into the key barriers for women to enter in the tech sector. Over one in two (52%) women working in tech or students interested in the field say a lack of visible role models or mentors across the global tech sector is a major barrier to entry for women. Another half (50%) say they are held back because the opportunities for women to advance in technology are not made clear. These are the gender diversity challenges that Booking.com seeks to unearth and help address through this awards program and other related initiatives.The 2018 Booking.com Technology Playmaker of the Year, Hadeel Ayoub, CEO and founder of BrightSign, was honored for developing a smart "sign-to-speech" glove that helps individuals with speech disabilities communicate more easily by converting sign language to computerized voice.For the 2019 awards, she will join the judging panel alongside a range of tech leaders and champions from business, academia and politics."I truly believe in the power of bringing women together to network and celebrate one another in order to make the technology sector more diverse and gender-inclusive. I was delighted to be recognized by Booking.com at the 2018 Technology Playmaker Awards, bringing further attention to BrightSign and helping my team and I continue to follow our passion to help people with non-verbal disabilities," says Hadeel. "I'm very much looking forward to working with the other judges, hearing the stories of women doing great things with technology around the world and identifying the 2019 Playmakers."The Technology Playmaker Awards 2018 attracted entries from inspirational female tech entrepreneurs and innovators across Europe, highlighting their achievements across technology fields such as ecommerce, fintech, green energy, education tech, blockchain and consumer tech.The Booking.com Technology Playmaker Awards 2019 will gather together luminaries, leaders and supporters of women in technology from around the world in London, UK, on March 13, 2019. Nominations for the awards will close on December 22, 2018Along with this initiative, Booking.com will also be partnering with the Web Summit in Lisbon on November 5-8, 2018 for a Women in Tech mentorship program.Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among 6,898 respondents (from the UK, USA, France, Brazil, The Netherlands, Germany, China, Australia, India and Spain). Respondents completed an online survey from August 2nd to September 6th, 2018.About Booking.comEstablished in 1996 in Amsterdam, Booking.com B.V. has grown from a small Dutch start-up to one of the largest travel e-commerce companies in the world. Part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), Booking.com now employs more than 17,000 employees in 198 offices in 70 countries worldwide.With a mission to empower people to experience the world, Booking.com invests in digital technology that helps take the friction out of travel. At Booking.com, we connect travellers with the world's largest selection of incredible places to stay, including everything from apartments, vacation homes, and family-run B&Bs to 5-star luxury resorts, tree houses and even igloos. The Booking.com website and mobile apps are available in 43 languages, offer over 28.9 million total reported listings, including more than 5.6 million listings of homes, apartments and other unique places to stay, and cover more than 140,000 destinations in 231 countries and territories worldwide.Each day, more than 1.5 million room nights are reserved on our platform. So, whether traveling for business or leisure, customers can instantly book their ideal place to stay quickly and easily with Booking.com, without booking fees and backed up by our promise to price match. Via our customer experience team, customers can reach Booking.com 24/7 for assistance and support in 43 languages, any time of the day or night.

Booking Holdings Agrees to Acquire HotelsCombined

Booking.com 10 July 2018
Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire hotel metasearch site, HotelsCombined. Based in Sydney, Australia with a strong presence in APAC and thousands of active affiliates worldwide, HotelsCombined will report into Booking Holdings' leading travel metasearch brand, KAYAK."HotelsCombined has built a strong brand with loyal consumers across APAC, and we believe the team will be a great addition to KAYAK to further expand our worldwide metasearch strategy," said Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking Holdings."We've admired their execution for many years. I'm eager to work together to strengthen our capabilities and global network," said Steve Hafner, CEO of KAYAK.HotelsCombined was founded in 2005. The acquisition has been approved by HotelsCombined's board of directors and stockholders and is expected to close later this year, subject to regulatory approval and satisfaction of closing conditions."We've always been inspired by the entrepreneurial culture of Booking Holdings brands and are excited to be joining the family." said Hichame Assi, CEO of HotelsCombined "Operating under the KAYAK umbrella will strengthen our proposition to both customers and partners with greater scale, product breadth and innovation."About Booking HoldingsBooking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG) is the world leader in online travel and related services, provided to customers and partners in over 220 countries through six primary brands -Booking.com,KAYAK,priceline.com,agoda.com,Rentalcars.com and OpenTable. The mission of Booking Holdings is to help people experience the world. For more information, visit Bookingholdings.com.

Generation Regret? Younger generations are most regretful about missed travel opportunities

Booking.com 11 May 2018
Almost three quarters (71%) of global travellers have regrets over missed travel opportunities, rising to 82% for Generation Z (18-24 year olds)However, travel can be transformative and life enhancing for all generations as nearly a fifth (19%) of travellers say they found their purpose or passion in life when traveling, 17% have overcome a major fear and 15% learned a new languageWhether it's wishfully thinking about that long-distance holiday you could've booked, or that road trip you should've taken, Booking.com research reveals that a whopping 71% of global travellers have had regrets over missed travel opportunities.The global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, in collaboration with ili, the world's fastest offline translation device, has conducted research across 20,500 global travellers to reveal that the biggest missed travel opportunities include not traveling more often (46%), not traveling more when younger (35%), not seeing more of the countries travelled to (29%), not going to more far-flung destinations (25%), not doing more adventurous travel (25%) and not going to more remote destinations (25%).However, regrets are a lot higher amongst Generation Z with over a third of this age group regretting not being more adventurous (35%) and three in 10 (29%) regretting not going to more far-flung destinations. It's also no surprise that 32% of the selfie generation (18 to 24 year olds) found it upsetting when they failed to capture more photos to commemorate their trip. This figure stood at only 23% for overall travellers.Despite their sense of regret, chiefly stemming from perceived barriers around language, expense, directions and safety in the unknown, half (53%) of all travellers have overcome their worries about traveling to a new destination and have travelled there. Generation Z are the most willing to face their travel anxieties head on with two thirds (61%) of 18 to 24 year olds overcoming their concerns. This has positive impacts as it encouraged 44% to travel more widely in the future, 41% gained increased confidence in life and 40% a sense of personal achievement. Travelling deepens existing and create new relationships with almost a third (30%) of travellers becoming closer to their family and over a quarter (27%) making new long-lasting friendships while on holiday.For over half (55%) of travellers, going on holiday has inspired significant life changes, rising to 71% of 18 to 24 year olds, with nearly a fifth (19%) saying they found their purpose or passion in life, 17% of people have overcome a major fear and 15% learnt a new language. Traveling can also be beneficial both physically and mentally with 46% saying it had a positive effect on their mental health and 26% deciding to improve their physical health.To receive your own ili device at a discounted rate and limited version of Booking.com case visit www.booking.com/offers/limitlesstraveller for more information and your discount code.Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total 20,500 respondents were surveyed (1,000+ from Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China, Brazil, India, the USA, the UK, Russia, Indonesia and Columbia and 500+ each from Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Taiwan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden, Singapore and Israel.) Respondents completed an online survey in March 2018.

Chatbot Revolution Set to Transform Travel Planning

Booking.com 9 May 2018
For business travelers on the go, chatbots linked to travel and accommodation providers are an increasingly valued tool, enabling them to take advantage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered voice chats or instant messages for an array of travel queries - such as checking the weather and seeking city-wide transportation options - as well as receiving quick customer support. Gartner, a leading global research and advisory company, predicted as far back as 2011 that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will would take place via chatbot, and that by 2021, 50 percent of enterprises would spend more on bots than mobile apps. This means that the travel industry has to embrace this technology at a rapid pace in order to satisfy growing demand.Research shows that consumers have already warmed up to the idea. A recent Booking.com survey revealed that a large majority of travellers (80%) prefer to self-serve in order to get the information they need, and half (50%) don't mind whether they deal with a real person or a computer as long as their questions are answered. For queries about travel plans made with Booking.com, this demand is being met by the AI-enabled Booking Assistant, to which travellers can ask post-accommodation booking questions on anything from payment to transportation, arrival and departure times, date changes and internet availability, all via their preferred device and platform. Booking Assistant is now able to handle almost 50% of these customer stay inquiries automatically. This means increased convenience, reliability and speed for business travellers, whose busy schedules require prompt and accurate business travel support.When planning a business trip in particular, travelers want to ensure that unknowns are kept to a minimum, so reassurance that any queries can be answered swiftly will bring peace of mind, and minimize any additional stress.Beyond their speed and simplicity, chatbots offer the continued opportunity to improve the customer experience with their ability to tap into vast amounts of information that it would take a human much longer to process. There is still a place for human interaction however - if the Booking Assistant has identified a question it can't solve on its own, it enlists support from either its customer service team or the property, depending on which is most appropriate. AI is not about replacing human interaction, but is instead a vehicle to facilitate an even more personalized, instantaneously gratifying and frictionless travel experience for consumers. The winning combination of AI and human interaction is fuelling a more personalized, rewarding and frictionless travel experience.References1. Gartner - CRM Strategies and Technologies to Understand, Grow and Manage Customer Experiences2. Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among 18,509 respondents (1,000+ from the UK, US, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, India, Singapore and Russia and 500+ each from Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Thailand and Taiwan). Respondents completed an online survey in August 20173. As above

Booking.com research exposes surprising gap between travel ambitions and reality

Booking.com 3 May 2018
Booking.com research reveals that travelers are keen to push their limits and seek out the new, yet are being held back by language barriers and niggling anxietyAlmost half (44%) of people today want to be a limitless traveler, someone who does not feel held back from getting the most out of travel, who embraces the new and different and is not afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to travellingYet two thirds (63%) don't believe they are being adventurous enough while on vacation and are missing out on making the most of opportunities whilst travelingTechnology has transformed travel, shrinking the world with thousands of destinations only a click away. However, new research reveals a significant two thirds (63%) of today's travelers don't believe they are making the most of their travel opportunities.Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travelers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, has conducted research across 20,500 global travelers to uncover the barriers and anxieties which prevent people from making the most of every trip and reveal how they can move to a state of truly limitless travel.The research shows that despite a world of opportunities one in five people (20%) have never felt limitless on vacation and one in 10 (10%) have only ever felt limitless once.Nevertheless there is a strong desire to be a limitless traveler[i], with almost half (44%) of people worldwide expressing that aspiration and over three quarters (78%) wanting to make the most of every travel experience and travel with no regrets.The Booking.com research also shows almost two thirds (62%) of people want to experience new cultures, over half (51%) want to taste local delicacies, over a third (39%) are keen to experience staying somewhere new and a third (33%) want to embrace meeting new people whilst travelling, which Booking.com can help travelers unlock in new places.Overcoming travel trepidationsA common worry is the language barrier, as over a quarter (28%) of respondents agree this can hold them back from planning a trip and one in five (20%) are nervous about getting lost without speaking the local language. Travelers believe they are being held back by struggles to find accommodation (34%) and over a quarter feel anxious about unfamiliar situations when travelling (26%).When asked what would remove travel barriers and anxieties for future trips the top factors respondents called out were great accommodation options (37%), positive reviews from other travelers (35%), being able to ask questions and directions in the local language (26% and 23%), and being able to order their favorite food (22%).Helping hand from technologyTechnology can help overcome these concerns as over half (52%) of travelers admit to using technology frequently while travelling. As a global leader in digital technology, Booking.com has already brought travellers its pilot Booking Assistant, an Artificial Intelligence chatbot which empowers customers to get first-line support for upcoming bookings, all through a single intuitive chat interface. With over 147 million real guest reviews on Booking.com travelers can also research and get advice in their own language before they go.Booking.com is piloting a unique partnership in the US, Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia with ili, the world's fastest offline translation device. With customer support in available in 43 languages, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Booking.com is an expert at connecting people of different languages and this partnership will further help travelers to overcome their travel concerns around language. Booking.com, a leader in digital technology, is continually exploring how innovative technologies, such as this, can overcome traveller stress and enable travellers to discover more.Pushing the limitsOne in two (55%) travelers think the best thing about travel is getting outside their comfort zone, confirming that they want more unique travel experiences to push their travel limits. The top getaways which travelers haven't done before because they are too afraid, but would love to try one day include:Volunteering trip (39%)Gourmet adventure (38%)Mystery trip (38%)Sabbatical trip (36%)Ancestry trip to find out about their heritage (36%)In addition the top five trips that people have already been on and would like to go on again, as they allow them to experience travel to the fullest, are:Road trip (54%)Last minute trip (38%)Solo trip (34%)Long distance train journey (32%)Backpacking or hiking trip (30%)Traveling without limits isn't confined to the younger generation as although over a quarter (27%) of Generation Z (18 to 24 year olds) intend to take a road trip, Baby Boomers (55 to 64 year olds) are looking to get more adventurous with the trips they take and a fifth (20%) intend to go on a backpacking or hiking trip and one in five (18%) are planning a road trip. There is also a surge in solo travel to push limits with two fifths (40%) of global Baby Boomers having taken a solo trip in the last year, and a further fifth (21%) planning to take one in the future.Pepijn Rijvers, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com comments: "Travel can fulfil dreams, exposes us to new experiences, and ultimately enriches our lives for the better. Not only do we want to connect travelers with amazing places to stay, but we also provide knowledge and advice about a destination so that no matter where you choose to go, you can feel inspired to see more, go further and embrace every amazing opportunity along the way. As an industry innovator, we are continuously looking for ways to use the latest technologies to take the friction out of travel and empower people to experience the world, wherever they want to go and whatever they want to do."[i] Someone who does not feel held back from getting the most out of travel, who embraces the new and different and is not afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to travellingAbout iliIli is the world's fastest offline translator designed for travelers. It can translate your words into other languages in as little as 0.2 seconds without an internet connection. It's simple to use, all you need to do is press the button and speak into it. Developed by Logbar, a Japanese startup, ili has been used by over 50,000 travelers around the world. ili has also received high praise from outlets such as Forbes. ili gives you a chance to explore different countries in brand new and exciting ways. Shop, dine, and navigate easier than ever thanks to ili's translation technology. Say hello to the locals and introduce yourself. You're bound to meet someone special. ili currently translates from English to Spanish, Mandarin, and Japanese. Updates will be available in the near future.

Booking.com Announces the Winners of Its Inaugural Technology Playmaker Awards

Booking.com 13 March 2018
LONDON -- Today Booking.com, one of the world's largest e-commerce companies and a digital technology leader, announced the winners of its inaugural Technology Playmaker Awards. At a special gala awards ceremony in London attended by over 300 technology leaders and individuals who champion women in tech from across Europe, ten prizes were awarded. These included eight individual category winners, one corporate winner, and a grand prix for the Technology Playmaker of the Year 2018.The awards were created to recognise innovative and inspiring women in technology who are transforming the European tech scene and serving as role models for the community, as well as to honour organisations that demonstrate a relentless commitment to gender equality in the workplace.From hundreds of entries, winners include the creators of an app providing early intervention for adolescent anxiety, the inventor of a smart energy platform which uses Blockchain and AI to revolutionise how we consume energy, and digital leaders who have made strides in STEM education and in inspiring girls and women to embrace technology. Leading women in tech were recognised from 11 countries across Europe.Hadeel Ayoub, Founder and CEO of BrightSign, became the first Booking.com Technology Playmaker of the Year, which is awarded to the entrant who judges felt had made the most impactful contribution to technology innovation and social change on the European tech scene. Hadeel, a designer, programmer and researcher in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) & Assistive Technology, was recognised for her launch of BrightSign, a wearable technology start-up developing innovations to facilitate communication for individuals with non-verbal disabilities.For the full list of winners, visit: https://globalnews.booking.com/bookingcom-announces-the-winners-of-its-inaugural-technology-playmaker-awards/

Eight Travel Predictions for 2018, as Revealed by Booking.com

Booking.com 25 October 2017
1. New tech frontiersImmersive experiences will reach the next level in 2018, with travellers looking to technology to help better understand a destination or accommodation before they book. Artificial intelligence and digital technology are helping consumers turn the corner when it comes to smart destination intuition, reshaping the way we research, book and experience travel. Almost a third (29%) of global travellers say they are comfortable letting a computer plan an upcoming trip based on data from their previous travel history and half (50%) don't mind if they deal with a real person or computer, so long as any questions are answered. Over six in 10 (64%) of travellers say they would like to 'try before they buy' with a virtual reality preview, while 50% find that personalised suggestions for destinations and things to do encourages them to book a trip. Taking all the hard work and stress out of decision making, in 2018 technology will continue to guide us seamlessly to find the best stays and experiences for us.2. From dream to reality2018 is the year to dream big as 45% of travellers have a travel bucket list in mind and the majority of those (82%) will aim to tick one or more destinations off their list in the coming year. The yearning for experiences over material possessions continues and drives our desire for more incredible and memorable trips. With dwindling patience, instantaneous appetites and empowered by technology, travellers in 2018 will seize the moment like never before.Most likely to feature on a bucket list is seeing one of the wonders of the world, as almost half of travellers (47%) will look to tick this off in 2018. Over a third (35%) yearn to tantalise their taste buds by trying a local delicacy, 34% want to head to an island paradise and 34% are thrill seekers wanting to visit a world famous theme park. Adrenalin junkies should consider Orlando, USA, The Gold Coast in Australia and Dubai, United Arab Emirates the top destinations endorsed by Booking.com travellers for theme parks[i]. The other top travel activities to complete in 2018 look set to be experiencing a unique cultural event (28%), learning a new skill (27%), going on an epic road or rail journey (25%) and visiting a remote or challenging location (25%).3. Retro rebootAs well as new experiences, travellers will be revisiting their favourite childhood memories as part of their trips in 2018. Blending the future with the past, next year's travellers will be inspired to return to previously loved destinations and explore them in a whole new way. A third of travellers (34%) will consider a holiday they experienced as a child for 2018.These popularity of these vintage vacations stems from the feelings of nostalgia and happiness the destinations evoke. Travellers say that former family holidays recall the fondest memories, even more so than childhood sweethearts or family pets. Millennials look set to be even more sentimental with 44% of 18 to 34 year olds keen to hark back to favourite family destinations. With 60% of travellers in 2018 intending to post on social media each day, we can expect to see these nostalgic places brought back to the future and captured for social posterity.4. Pop culture pilgrimageWith the world at our finger tips, we rely on many sources to inspire us to travel to new destinations. Tapping into our passions is one way of helping to identify the locations most suited to us - from culture and entertainment, to food and history. In 2018, television shows, films, sport and social media in particular look set to have an increasingly significant sway over booking decisions, as travellers turn to pop culture for their travel inspiration. Reading blogs or watching YouTuber recommendations will spark ideas for four in ten (39%) travellers and on screen locations from television, film or music videos will win over 36% of travellers in the coming year. More than a fifth (22%) of travellers will be tempted by travelling for a major sporting event, with 43% of those considering a summer of football in Russia.The top television programme locations travellers most want to visit in 2018 are Croatia, Spain and Iceland inspired by Game of Thrones (29%), London as seen in Sherlock and the Crown (21% and 13%), New York and Manhattan from Billions (13%) and Los Angeles viewed in Entourage (10%).5. Walk your way to wellness The trend for wellness getaways isn't slowing down for 2018, with almost double the amount of people planning to take health and wellbeing trips in 2018 compared to 2017 (from one in 10 in 2017 to nearly one in five in 2018). Trips enjoying particular prominence will be those that involve travelling on two feet. A brilliant way to take in the local landscape, walking will be the ultimate way to explore next year, with 56% of travellers saying they want to do walking or hiking trips in 2018. A new generation of walkers will lace up their boots.Other health and wellness inspired activities high on the travel agenda in 2018 include visiting a spa or receiving beauty treatments (33%), cycling (24%), water sport activities (22%), taking a full body detox holiday (17%), going on a yoga retreat (16%), running (16%) and undertaking meditation/mindfulness (15%). Embracing such experiences is popular with travellers, with 59% saying they prioritise experiences over material items when on holiday. Partaking in a health and wellness trip may also be good for the mind, as over half (55%) say that going on holiday is a moment for them to reflect and make better lifestyle choices - something which can be easily facilitated through a health and wellness trip.6. Economic intuitionEvery year, travellers are becoming savvier, especially when it comes to getting the most for their money. With significant numbers basing their travelling decisions on finance-related matters, 2018 will see travellers looking to be even more economically intuitive. Nearly half (47%) will take currency exchange rates into consideration when planning their travels for the year, and almost the same amount (48%) will think about the economic climate of a destination before making the decision to travel. Good news for the retail industry, a third of travellers (30%) also plan to make more purchases from airport duty free shops in 2018 and one in four (26%) will even go on holiday specifically to buy goods such as fashion items because they are cheaper than in their home country.More confident to follow their own intuition, travellers are less obliged to follow the herd, with over half (57%) wanting to do more independent travel in 2018, placing growing value on personalised endeavours, looking for the best deals and putting together their own packages - all with the help of apps and technology. Almost half of travellers (44%) will use travel apps more in 2018, with technology continuously developing to make travel stress free in 2018. This includes geo-location technology directing you to your accommodation, all within one click from your app, or planning activities while on holiday in just a few simple taps of your smart phone, as over two in five (41%) expect to do in 2018.7. The great mate escape2018 is gearing up to be all about the group get-away. When asked who their 2018 travelling companions were likely to be, the segment with the biggest increase when compared to 2017, was travelling with a group of friends, increasing from 21% to 25%With 2018 shaping up to be all about the experience, it's not just about the destination but also the people that matter to create memories. Mate's escapes are the ultimate social time away from our everyday pressures, reducing stress and building connections with your friends. With the world only a click away it's never been easier to find the perfect place to stay and explore with a large group of friends looking for adventure across every corner of the globe.Friend based getaways also have financial advantages as four in 10 (42%) said that joint holidays with friends will allow them to stay in accommodation they wouldn't be able to afford on their own.8. Live like a local, not with oneIn 2018, rental homes are going to be particularly popular - not just for travellers looking to stay in one, but also home owners who are thinking of inviting others to stay in their own abode. One in three travellers (33%) say they'd prefer to stay in a holiday rental (a holiday home or apartment) over a hotel and one in five (21%) would consider listing their home on a travel accommodation site.When it comes to playing the role of a host, travellers reveal that it isn't about having them there all the time. Travellers are keen to have a local experience and will look to hosts for their expertise, as a quarter of travellers say it will be important that their host has strong local knowledge about local food and places to visit (25%), but travellers will want the flexibility to interact with hosts on their own terms. In 2018, it will be important for travellers that their host is available but not too over-bearing (30%) and one in 10 (12%) want a host who they don't have to speak to at all.Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com comments: "As technology continues to advance, it's also advancing and enhancing the way we travel. It empowers us to plan the perfect holiday and makes it easier to explore further and with more confidence, flexibility and options than ever before.At Booking.com, we build and design everything we do around our customers, responding to their wants and needs when it comes to researching, booking and enjoying travel. As expectations evolve and new trends rise to the fore, we're excited to see how emerging technology can continue to help and guide people to get the best experience for them in 2018."Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total 18,509 respondents were surveyed (1,000+ from the UK, US, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, India, Singapore and Russia and 500+ each from Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Thailand and Taiwan). Respondents completed an online survey in August 2017

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