Internal communication between teams can be a nightmare. Especially if those teams are distributed globally, and work across different timezones. Keeping everything up to date and information centralized can be a hard hill to climb.
That’s the case with Booking.com. The online reservation behemoth – which was recently acquired by Priceline and boasts over 790,000 hotels – has more than 9,000 employees working in 150 offices around the world. In addition, their site is localized in 41 different languages.
It was a delightful summer afternoon, and Marta, our Head of Marketing, met Thomas Trip at Booking’s Amsterdam offices. They are both minimalist, but cozy – a difficult feat to achieve. They went upstairs to Booking’s cafeteria. It’s a high-end, cool cafe with a beautiful terrace and a magnificent view of Amsterdam. They both grabbed some coffee, and started discussing communication , Piktochart and Booking.com.
Thomas, previously a music artist with the band The Crowns, is now a Language Specialist at Booking.com.
Thomas works in the content department in Booking’s Headquarters in Central Amsterdam. The team owns text, pictures, videos and all of the content that’s being published on the website. Thomas’ role, as a language specialist, is to ensure the website is localized in their respective language. He explains: “I’m a Dutch language specialist so I make sure that the Dutch user has the most authentic experience on the Dutch version of Booking.com”
On a day to day basis, Thomas’ role demands that he utilize his entire skillset. His main task is localization: “Our website is translated into 41 languages but there is 1 source text written by the copywriters who experiment a lot with different versions of it. We take over these experiments in our native languages and localize them. Our goal is to make sure users always see the best version, so we do a lot of A/B split testing to see what works best”.
In addition to that, Thomas manages the freelancers who translate the hotel descriptions. There are over 790,000 accommodations featured on the Booking.com website, so they need to outsource that work,and make sure “the quality is up to Booking.com standards”.
Another of his daily tasks is managing user feedback. “I deal with all of the comments that come from our Dutch speaking customers”, he explains. This allows him to get his ‘boots on the ground’, and be closer to the end user.
Thomas described his job as interesting and broad.It combinies lots of different activities that need various skills. He focuses on the different aspects of web marketing including SEO and PPC. He also likes programming and designing. This particular role allows him to use his wide range of skills and interests when he occasionally supports other departments by conducting analysis or developing tools.
He sums it up perfectly: “My job is making sure we deliver the best language experience for our users”.
How The Booking Content Team Measures Success
In the tech industry, success has many different forms. For instance, a social network might focus on the number of daily active users, while a software-as-a-service startup might focus on monthly recurring revenue.
Every Booking team has a different way of measuring success. However, they all utilize KPI’s, or Key Progress Indicators. A KPI is a set of specific numbers or metrics used to measure success and progress.
“We have several KPI’s related to our translation tasks”, describes Thomas. “Yes, they provide each other with feedback and following the guidelines, but in the end, it’s the customer who determines the quality of the final translation.” Thomas explains how they measure something so subjective: “The way we measure its success is by sending satisfaction surveys to our clients that helps us understand how our quality is perceived”.
Their second KPI is the speed of translations. “We have around 45 translation requests coming in every day, so it’s quite a lot and it’s important to keep deadlines. We also evaluate our freelancers and send them tips and tricks to follow the guidelines. We need to make sure our translations are realistic, meaning the descriptions that people read about a hotel or property on our website matches with what they see when they arrive”.
The Challenge – Making Internal Communications Smoother
All exciting and worthwhile endeavors have challenges. For Thomas, it’s making sure everyone is up to speed and up to date about what is happening in the company. Effective communication is what allows the team to keep up to speed with their KPIs, while delivering a fantastic language and booking experience to their customers.
“The company is based in Amsterdam but there are 24 local offices, 150 offices in total worldwide. The challenge is to make sure everyone is updated”.
Booking is a huge company with over 9,000 employees distributed around the globe. Therefore, “a lot of communication is happening around in form of emails, presentations and it’s challenging sometimes to reach the internal audience with the message that you want to convey”.
When thousands of employees communicate globally over email and long reports, it becomes difficult to keep track of things.
That’s when a tool like Piktochart comes into play.
Using Piktochart for Internal Communication
Thomas and the Booking content team use Piktochart in many different ways. They have fun creating promotional posters for local events: “We have a social responsibility program called ‘Booking Cares’ and I’ve seen several people’s posters hanging around the office inviting others to join their project. It’s encouraging and inspiring to see people being so creative and using Piktochart to raise awareness for social causes!”
Aside from being fun, the major use for Piktochart is to make internal communications run smoothly. The Booking teams create beautiful infographics to share internally with colleagues, and other language specialists. This is extremely important according to Thomas because “there are many language specialist teams around the world and Piktochart helps us keep each other updated via weekly Newsletters about what’s happening on the local market and in each office”.
Another super useful case for Piktochart reporting is geared towards Booking’s internal customers. Thomas explains in more detail: “We do a lot of user feedback analysis and I use Piktochart to present the results in a quick and visually attractive way so that researchers can grasp the idea and come up with suitable solutions”.
Finding Piktochart marks a significant change for Booking’s content team. Before, long email summaries with attached Word reports were commonplace. This was extremely tedious and time consuming, and with so many teams and projects around the world, it was challenging to keep track of everything.
Thomas expresses that “Piktochart helped us save time which was previously spent on going through other people’s results. Now we have a project database where everything is logged and represented visually, so that people can click and see infographics that provide an easy to understand overview. Everything has become more visually attractive and people are able to quickly communicate the key results of their teams so that everyone is up to speed and can focus on their daily jobs”.
In other words, Piktochart makes sure the Booking.com team can easily communicate results and keep each other up to date about team happenings around the world. “It helps me in my job to see what’s happening in other markets and translate it into learnings of our own. It helps put us on the same page so that we do our projects better and faster”.
Why Booking.com Loves Piktochart!
Thomas has some design experience with Photoshop and InDesign. As a curious individual, he has always liked exploring these programs due to his interest in web design. But that’s not the case with everyone in Booking.com’s content team: “The funny thing is many people in my team and other teams don’t have any graphic design background or experience whatsoever, but they still like to use Piktochart because it’s very convenient and easy to use”.
Thomas is a huge fan of the variety of icons that you can find in Piktochart. “Many times I’m searching for something so unique that I don’t even expect to find it and then, there it is! This helps me visualize many ideas and concepts without using too many words”. If you remember from the last section, the team tries to reduce long and tedious emails, and being able to transform text into a visually compelling story is a huge win.
For Thomas, using icons with text (his favorite font is League Gothic!) and company brand colors is enough for an appealing visual to print out or share with others. And he is absolutely right. Sometimes, less is more. “I keep the hex codes of our brand colors next to my desk as a cheat sheet and make sure to use them in my designs. I find photo frames powerful to quickly visualize ideas.”
All in all, Thomas mentioned that it wasn’t hard to convince management to use Piktochart because it’s very cost-efficient comparing to the Adobe products. “Plus, I don’t need more sophisticated tools as Piktochart does everything I need to do at the moment – create beautiful and quick designs.”