Booking.com is an amazing mix of young driven people; 14,000+ employees from 140+ countries, with an average age of 31. This blend creates quite a unique culture; very passionate and diverse people all working together to empower people from all corners of the globe to truly experience the world. This culture means we work hard and we travel a lot. With so many expats and a global business reach, travel is a common passion for everyone at Booking.
Last year employees were given a GoPro so that they could document more of their amazing travel experiences. Knowing how passionate our employees were, we knew that we had to do more with this opportunity. And so my colleague Diana Agudelo Hernandez and I began brainstorming how we could make this bigger. This is very much the Booking style – a few people with a small seed of an idea, getting together and trying to craft something of impact.
Within a few weeks, we had started discussions with a local Amsterdam-based creative studio, Cloud Factory, about the opportunity and how we could potentially showcase our employees’ passion for travel. The folks at Cloud Factory quickly embraced the amazing culture we had and had some novel ideas on how we could keep the authenticity of the project while making it more than just a happy travel film. Together, we wanted to tell a story about the highs and low of travel, and how these experiences could transform an individual.
Soon after, we made the official call-to-action for employees to film the life out of every travel experience they had! We asked them to share these experiences with us, and very quickly videos started pouring in – raw, genuine footage that showed the personality of the traveler and the heart of what makes Booking.com so special.
Within a few months, we had received an abundance of footage that was spectacular, and the snowball of videos and chat around the office was really building with all of the latest videos being shared on a weekly basis. In the end, we received 3,000+ videos from hundreds of destinations around the world, with employees experiencing everything from hiking on glaciers to scuba diving with whales.
Working with a mini army of editors and a very talented director, Willem Gerritsen, the team spent days sifting through footage, trying to piece it together into a meaningful story. There were so many amazing clips, but we wanted to keep the video to 3 minutes, and so ultimately there were a lot of great moments we weren’t able to share. Rather than showing a typical montage of travel experiences, we wanted to tell a chronological story about travel – from that initial moment of landing in a foreign country, embracing the culture and meeting the locals, to entering a stage of self-reflection, and the different impact that travel has on everyone. For the finishing touches, we worked closely with a composer to really bring to life big moments, and animate the quieter ones.
The result was the “One Mission” video.
As a brand team, we were very happy with the output but obviously biased. The real test was sharing the film back to our employees to see their reaction. We received so much positive feedback, and the video was shared more than any other piece of content we’ve ever created.
The best thing about this project is that it helped us showcase the power of our people, the engine of Booking.com, and what makes us truly unique as you will see in the comments it’s inspired more than a few people to travel.
Normally this would be the end of the story, but at Booking.com we always like a challenge. Since the film was made by our employees, we thought they should also be the ones who launch it! The leadership team encouraged all employees to share the final video and set the bar at one million views in one week. The reward for the employees if they reached that goal was that the leadership team would swim in the icy waters of the Amsterdam canals.