When Did Booking.com Start?

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Booking.com started in 1996, stemming from its founder’s idea of booking a hotel room wherever you are in the world. Booking.com has transformed the landscape of traveling over the years. From its humble beginning as a hotel booking website for people visiting the Netherlands, it has grown to become the go-to website for anything travel-related. Its two-decade-long history is rich with partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions, all of which have contributed to the website’s success.

Booking.com is the leader of internet-assisted travel, assuring a hassle-free vacation or business trip.

The Booking.com Timeline

  • 1996 –Geert-Jan Bruinsma hatched the idea of creating a website that allows travelers to book a hotel room wherever they are in the world. It led to the founding of Bookings.nl, geared towards people traveling to the Netherlands.
  • 1997 –Bruinsma collaborated with two other hotel-centered websites and took 50% of the booking commissions by linking their websites to his. Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf rejected Bruinsma’s ad posting since they only accept advertising phone numbers and not websites.
  • 1998 –The steady growth of Bookings.nl allowed Bruinsma to hire an additional person to help with the operation of his growing business.
  • 2000 –Bookings.nl merged with Bookings Online, founded by Sicco, Marijn Muyser, Alec Behrens, and Bas Lemmens, the company behind bookings.org. The merger gave birth to Booking.com, the website used today.
  • 2002 –American online travel company Expedia showed interest in purchasing Booking.com. After half a year of negotiations, Expedia’s board decided not to push through with the acquisition.
  • 2005 –Priceline Group, the owner of travel and booking websites Princeline.com, Agoda.com, and Rentalcars.com, acquired Booking.com for $133 million.
  • 2012 -2014 –Booking.compartnered with local and international travel companies expanding the website’s reach worldwide. China’s Trip.com in 2012, Indonesia’s Panorama Group in 2013, and Russia’s UralAirlines in 2014, to name a few.
  • 2018 –The Priceline Group’s acquisition of Booking.com was beneficial to the company as it became their revenue driver, generating 20% of its profit. They changed their company name to Booking Holdings, crediting the website’s success.

About the author

Pieter Borremans

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