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Spotlight on: Demand partner perspectives

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What channels are you using to attract new customers today?

Maarten Limmen, Head of Marketing at International Card Services: There’s the internet and using digital channels to find new customers – but in our case, it's also important to use partnerships. By leveraging the customer bases of big brands and big partnerships like Booking.com, we can try and steer their customers towards our products.

Yves Benchimol, CEO and Co-Founder at WeWard: We currently have 20 million users across Europe, and we work with social media, influencer marketing and press agencies to target new potential users. We also promote our partnership with Booking.com in the app, especially using our community via marketing emails and in-app messages. 

Abbie Dorling, Product Lead for Monetisation at Trainline: Much like Booking.com, we're an app-first organisation. We're trying to help our customers feel like they've got a travel companion right in their pocket – somewhere they can get all the relevant live travel updates for their journey. 

What helps drive customer loyalty today?

Maarten Limmen: I think it's very important to stay true to yourself as a company so that people know you're reliable and trustworthy. If you do that – and if people have an issue that you help solve – then they will stay loyal. It's about being true to your core values. 

Marie-Charlotte Dautel, VP of Revenue at WeWard: We drive customer loyalty by offering a seamless experience on our app. It’s also important to know who the customers are, so that we can propose the best offers. That means a lot of analytics. Of course, customer support is really important for us too. The after-sale service is something that really drives loyalty. 

Abbie Dorling: There are many reward schemes, such as the Genius programme which is a hot topic at the moment. But, in my opinion, ultimately if you want to drive customer loyalty you need to have a product that's relevant to them. One that gives them the information they don't even know that they need, when they need it. If your product's not serving your customers, then there's little point in having a loyalty scheme – no matter how good it is. 

How would you describe your partnership with Booking.com?

Maarten Limmen: Our partnership with Booking.com is very valuable for us. It lets us offer our customers some added value on top of our own value proposition. And it helps us attract new customers, getting people to use the product more and boosting that loyalty. 

Marie-Charlotte Dautel: We see it as another way for our users to gain some points by booking with one of our partners. We give Booking.com visibility on our app, then our users can book a trip and gain some points. 

Yves Benchimol: The partnership has been a great success for us. It's a good way to improve the user experience and to give users a reward for booking. And for us it's also a great partnership in terms of revenue as a new acquisition channel.

Abbie Dorling: Booking.com is definitely one of the easiest partnerships that we have. You're very data centric. That is really helpful for us as it lets us see how the changes we make on our side impact the customers once they land onto your product. Your account managers are super proactive, very transparent with things like our quarterly business reviews, and it feels like we have a very open relationship. 

Are there any developments you’re looking forward to in the future? 

Maarten Limmen: Yes – the Connected Trip.
We’re looking forward to offering more of the travel journey to customers via a single platform, making it easier for them to book their accommodation, flights etc. – which also makes our product better. 

Yves Benchimol: We’re interested in the Connected Trip and the different solutions we can provide to our users to help them explore the world. So we are very excited about the new things we are developing with Booking.com, especially the voucher programme where we will be able to reward our users for walking by giving them a voucher towards their next trip. And then we will continue to promote the partnership and help them to have a seamless experience when they want to travel and to explore different cities. 

What advice would you give new demand partners? 

Maarten Limmen: I would say start slowly but keep iterating and trying new things. Don't expect that just because you’re partnering with Booking.com that some sort of magic will happen and everything works by itself. You need to invest in it – but if you do, that investment will get returned. 

That’s what we've seen in the past few years – every time we invested in our partnership, the results grew.

Abbie Dorling: For any new demand partners out there, I think it's great to test and learn. That’s very much within Booking.com's DNA – and in Trainline’s too.  

Try different things out, try different touchpoints, learn from your customers, then optimise based on the data that you're getting back. 

Interested in becoming a Booking.com affiliate partner?
Find out more 

  • Alongside partnerships, digital channels continue to be an important route to attract new customers
  • Loyalty is driven by offering seamless experiences, a strong reputation and relevant products 
  • A good partnership should offer an easy – and effective – value add
  • New partners should start small, invest and keep up with new tools and features as they become available

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