Booking Cares Labs Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is Booking.com doing this?
In helping travellers to explore and experience more than 138,000 unique destinations all over the world, Booking.com also seeks to contribute to the ongoing health of these same destinations so that future generations can continue to enjoy them for years to come. With the Booking Cares programmes, Booking.com identifies, mentors and helps fund promising startups and projects that are seeking to have an innovative, positive impact on the global tourism industry. This takes various forms, including the three-week Booking Booster accelerator programme for innovative social enterprise scale-ups in sustainable tourism, as well as the Booking Cares Fund, which aims to support ambitious non-profit projects and changemakers looking to have a measurable impact through tourism-related activities in various destinations all over the world.
This is all an extension of the work we’ve been doing for the past four years as part of our Booking.com Cares Volunteer Programme, contributing our time and expertise to help improve destinations worldwide. Through our Cares Volunteer Programme, Booking.com employees are involved in projects sponsored by our NGO partners all across the globe. Employees can work on something that matters to the local community and at the same time has a real impact on making tourism in our destinations (more) sustainable.
Through all of our Booking Cares initiatives, we support destinations to be sustainable and resilient and seek to drive innovation in the sustainable tourism industry. Historically, our destination support and innovation acceleration efforts existed separately. The Booking Cares Labs will link these initiatives together, amplifying our impact by using innovation to bolster our programmes to offer destination support. As such, with our Cares Labs, we are working with destinations directly to ensure that they can continue providing the best experience to both travelers and locals alike.
Over the course of the three days, innovators with great solutions to a destinations’ concerns will hear from the destination itself, learn from the best experts, and be paired with the very best mentors from Booking.com who will guide and support them to put their solution into action.
Surrounded by passionate people and with the best tools and approaches at their disposal, we want to inspire innovators to take the necessary steps to scale their ideas further and deliver measurable impact to more destinations around the globe. TAt the end of the programme, each team of innovators will pitch their project plan to a panel of judges (in front of a live audience) for the chance to receive funding between €10,000 and €25,000. The next Cares Lab will take place in Amsterdam from October 9 to 11, 2018.
By investing our time, expertise and capital into these promising innovators, Booking.com will bring together multiple stakeholders to help find future-proof solutions that will make the destinations even more sustainable.
2. Who can apply to the Cares Labs?
We are looking for innovators that can contribute a solution to the specific sustainable tourism focus areas that have been identified in one of our destinations. It may be that you are an early-stage startup, an NGO with a new project, or a researcher, but what all selected innovators will have in common is that they offer a unique and early-stage idea or solution that the Booking Cares Lab can help grow. Their idea and solution does not have to be specific to the destination in which the Lab is taking place, but must use the destination as a case study during the course of the programme (applying their solution to the destination and considering that destination’s data).
The teams of innovators must either be employees or partners of a registered entity in the EU, either from the commercial or non-profit sector.
3. How many people from each team can go to the Cares Labs?
If selected, two representatives from your team are required to participate in the programme.
4. What is the expected outcome of the Cares Labs weekend/programme?
By the end of the three days, we want to have empowered you with new skills, expertise and perspectives that you can immediately put into practice after you leave.
The programme will culminate in a pitch of a 30-day project plan in front of an expert jury with the chance to win grants between €10,000 and € 25,000. Booking.com will decide on the granting of funds and allocation of prizes.
5. What happens after the Cares Lab?
The teams of innovators that receive a grant following their final pitch will be asked to update Booking.com on their project’s progress and measured impact. All the teams will also receive up to 30 days of ongoing mentorship from their Booking.com mentor. In addition, based on the strength of the plans that are developed, the city of Amsterdam is also offering up the chance for one of the strongest teams of innovators to partner on a pilot project directly with the city.
6. What is covered by Booking.com for the Cares Labs?
Accommodation will be covered by Booking.com for three nights. Travel to and from Amsterdam will also be covered, but will be capped at €500 per person. Booking.com will provide food and beverages throughout the entire programme.
7. Will Booking.com support me if I need a visa to travel to Amsterdam for the Cares Labs?
All participants must be able to organise their own visa if needed, and at their own cost.