We are buzzing with excitement today, as we get to announce the ten sustainable tourism scale-ups that will be joining the 2018 Booking Booster Programme here in Amsterdam in May. After the successful launch of the Booster in 2017, the 2018 Booking.com Booster will follow suit. The three-week accelerator programme consists of a series of lectures, hands-on workshops and coaching, culminating in a final pitch to receive a grant of up to €500k from Booking.com’s €2 million fund dedicated to scaling these sustainable tourism businesses.
With hundreds of applicants from all over the world, the ten startups joining the 2018 programme hail from six different countries and operate collectively across six continents, including Antarctica. Their businesses represent a diverse mix of innovative online marketplaces that connect travellers with inclusive travel experiences, cutting-edge technological solutions and initiatives that empower local communities to benefit more equally from the global tourism opportunity.
All the participating social enterprises will also receive several months of ongoing mentoring and coaching from Booking.com experts, as well as opportunities and access to collaborate with Booking.com on potential innovation initiatives and experiments to help accelerate future growth for the participating scale-ups.
“We’re thrilled with the 10 inventive startups joining us in Amsterdam this spring,” said our CEO and Booster supporter, Gillian Tans. “The relationships we build with these passionate entrepreneurs not only help fuel their continued growth, but also invigorate and inspire our entire company. Our aim is to build a network of like-minded organisations and individuals that are leveraging technology to create a more sustainable future for destinations worldwide. Through our collective commitment, we are striving to ensure that we can keep the unique destinations we all love happy and healthy for generations to come.”
Let's introduce you to the scale-ups and let them share their thoughts on participating in this year's Booster Programme. We can't wait to welcome them here in May!
Community Homestay Network (Nepal)
Community Homestay Network is a platform for travellers visiting Nepal with a core focus on empowering women and cultural immersion by creating homestays and other tourism-based micro-enterprises in off-the-beaten-path communities.
“When I was kid, my parents would teach me to be patient and to work hard for good reasons. Someday, my hard work would surely be appreciated by the world. I lived that moment when I learned our project was accepted for the Booking.com Booster.” Shiva Dhakal, President
“It means a lot to us. Not only people working in a company, but to all those communities who are involved in this project from the day one. It will encourage women of vulnerable communities. We would like to thank the Booking.com Booster Programme for acknowledging our hard work. Thank you all very much.” Sudeep Singh, Manager
Global Himalayan Expedition (India)
Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) organises impact expeditions to provide clean energy and digital education access to the remote mountain communities of the Himalayas, helping to put them on the map for future travellers to explore.
“The Booking.com Booster Programme will be a great platform for GHE to build upon our work in the Himalayas, learn from experts and scale this initiative across various remote geographies of the world.” Paras Loomba, Founder
“To me, it means a world of possibilities and opens up several avenues for young startups like ours towards growth. To be a part of the cohort of the Booking.com Booster Programme, it is an absolute privilege and we look forward to learning not just from Booking.com, but also the fellow startups.” Jaideep Bansal, Energy Access Leader
HiveSters is a social enterprise that acts as a hub for sustainable, real Thai experiences, connecting travellers who look for authentic cultural interactions with local experts in Thailand’s largest urban areas.
“We feel empowered that our mission was supported and we believe that the Booking.com Booster will open the door to unimaginable opportunities!” Achiraya Thamparipattra & Chayanich Thamparipattra, CEO & Chief of Fun
Hotel Con Corazón (Netherlands: Operating in Nicaragua)
Hotel Con Corazón Granada started as a 15-room boutique hotel in Nicaragua which opened in 2008 with the aim of investing all of its profits in education projects for underprivileged children.
“Participating in the Booster means to us a perfectly timed opportunity to grow our operations and education-impact beyond Nicaragua and Mexico. We are super excited to exchange experiences with other scale-ups. Together with these peers on the one hand, and the Booking.com professionals on the other, we'll define the next step in our journey. A journey towards 50,000 hotel-guests making the world a little better. Year after year.” Marcel Zuidhof, Co-founder
Keteka (United States: Operating in Central and South America, Antarctica)
Keteka is an online marketplace of unique, off-the-beaten path activities with a focus on indigenous communities that are instantly bookable online.
“As a for-profit impact venture, it's difficult to find professional guidance that emphasises optimisation for both financial growth and impact. For us, the Booking.com Booster represents a rare opportunity to receive that guidance.” Kyle Wiggins, Co-Founder & CEO
KITRO is the first, fully-automated food waste measurement system for restaurants and hotels.
“We are extremely excited to have been selected to participate in the Booking.com Booster. Looking forward to boosting KITRO to the next level.” Naomi MacKenzie, Co-Founder
Reflow actively supports destination improvement by collecting plastic waste and transforming it into sustainable 3D printing material, used to build products for the hospitality industry.
“For Reflow, participating in this Booster Programme fundamentally represents opportunity. It provides us with the chance to learn from an iconic brand that has successfully scaled from a powerful insight into a major platform in the travel landscape... We’re proud to have been selected and are looking forward to seizing this opportunity fully and growing from it.” Ronan Hayes, Co-founder & CMO
“By helping us get ready to scale, find new customers and build an ‘engine for growth,’ we believe the Booster Programme will quickly help us get to the next level. We could not be more delighted to partner up to create a sustainable future everywhere.” Jasper Middendorp, Co-founder & CEO
Sakha Consulting Wings: Women on Wheels (India)
Sakha Consulting is an unique social enterprise, launched to provide safe transport solutions for women by women in selected cities of India.
“It means a possibility of offering Sakha an opportunity to fulfill its potential. We hope to gain new knowledge, new networks, new funds and equipped with all of it, we hope to reach out to hundreds of more women enabling them to break barriers and take on non traditional livelihoods that can potentially transform their lives. We are very excited at this possibility and thank you for inviting us!” Meenu Vadera, Founder
Tastemakers (United States: Operating in Africa)
TSTMKRS is an online marketplace that connects local insiders with curious travellers who want to see a different side of Africa.
“The support and validation of participating in the Booking.com Booster Programme means we'll have the best experts in the industry giving us valuable insight into how we can scale our business, deliver on our mission, and add value to the communities we represent.” Charae Robinson, Founder & CEO
“Participating in the Booking.com Booster means that I can continue exercise my passion of disrupting what the world thinks about Africa and its people. This great opportunity allows me to connect with a larger set of peers, mentors, and industry stakeholders. I couldn't be more excited!” Jeremiah Myers, COO
Wheel the World (United States)
Wheel the World is tackling the challenge of accessibility and inclusivity in tourism within the adventure travel sector for people with disabilities.
“Wheel the World seeks to redefine the way people with disabilities travel and enjoy the world. Having the chance to work with Booking.com and other promising startups is an unbelievable opportunity to improve our value proposition, it's inspiring for our team and a great validation for our track record! We are looking forward to get the most from the Booking.com Booster!” Alvaro Silberstein, Co-Founder & CEO
“It means a huge step for us! It is an extraordinary opportunity and a challenge to show the world that together we can change how people with disabilities, families and friends are travelling around the globe.” Camilo Navarro, Co-Founder