As Booking.com’s Chief Executive Officer, Glenn D. Fogel is responsible for the global strategy and operations of Booking.com, including the management of all business units within the organisation.
Glenn also serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Booking Holdings, the parent company of Booking.com and other digital brands, a position he has held since January 2017.
Prior to his current roles, Glenn served as Booking Holdings’ Head of Worldwide Strategy and Planning, where he led major strategic initiatives including the key acquisitions of Booking.com, KAYAK, OpenTable, RentalCars.com and Agoda.com. He also served as the Executive Vice President of the Corporate Development division, responsible for worldwide mergers, acquisitions and strategic alliances.
Prior to joining Booking Holdings in February 2000, Glenn was a trader at a global asset management firm and prior to that, he began his career as an investment banker specializing in the air transportation industry.
Mr Fogel is a retired member of the New York State Bar. Fogel is a graduate of Harvard Law School and earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
JAVIER: Do you think we can still talk about the traveller journey from a linear perspective or it has become even more complex?
GLENN: Today’s travellers have incredibly diverse interests and needs – leading the modern journey to be much more complex and multidimensional than it has ever been before. Previously, we saw most travellers book a plane, book a hotel, and stay in a well-known destination. Today, things have rapidly changed: people book trips spontaneously, pursue local dining, take unique modes of travel through unexpected destinations – all while using multiple devices and largely mobile.
In light of this shift, we at Booking have adapted our offerings. That’s why we’ve grown to offer over 30 different types of places to stay, bookable on any device, with integrated technology offerings personalized to each customer. Today customers want so much more from us than a hotel booking. They look to us for curated recommendations and technology to help with more and more parts of the trip. As we do this better, customers come to trust us evermore, knowing we can meet their needs in real-time, minimizing the need for a long lead time, linear travel planning process.
JAVIER: Do you think that in the future we will see “travel super-apps” intended to cover all the phases of the Travel?
GLENN: Absolutely. The travel industry’s future success will be shaped by its ability to create seamless, personalized experiences, and super-apps are key to bringing this to life. People are increasingly looking to these apps as a single point of entry for everything in their lives, and travel is no exception. There’s also so much opportunity to make the experience easier – from payments to the check-in process. We’re envisioning super-apps to be a one-stop-shop for all of the travellers’ interests, including transportation, dining, accommodation, content discovery and more.
JAVIER: Where do you see more options for innovation in travel? In the B2B or in the B2C space?
GLENN: Both the B2B and B2C spaces present incredible opportunities for innovation. They are often interconnected and there is room to collaborate more across both areas. That is part of the reason why we strike partnerships with companies like Grab and WeChat – travel players that are leading the industry across the world and in this case, the Asia region, where technology innovation is incredibly rapid. It’s a symbiotic relationship. We can help each other grow our business reach, all while also helping each other deliver even more superior experiences to consumers.
JAVIER: There is a lot of hype around Tours and Activities, a huge, fragmented and poorly digitized subvertical. How do you think it will evolve in the future?
GLENN: The travel industry’s success will be defined by its ability to embrace the digital age to enhance the customer experience – and the tours and activities space is not immune to this digital shift. This is a major area where we plan to leverage advanced technology to create a more seamless and accessible travel experience for customers by helping our partners digitize. Though this subvertical has faced challenges in the past, the industry is slowly becoming more digitized, fueled by consumer demand – and we plan to meet consumers where they are by offering a fast, seamless stand-alone product.
JAVIER: Having such a remarkable global footprint, what are the main differences per continent you would remark as more distinctive in the travel industry?
GLENN: Collectively, we’ve found that each continent, country and community is driving the industry forward in unique ways.
For example, the innovation that exists within the greater APAC region cannot be overstated. Although no two countries in the region are the same, we see the region driving mobile innovation, which is fueling more travel than ever before, particularly with the advances in mobile payments. Travel companies like us know that we can’t have a viable product in China without having WeChat payment functionality – so the innovation that happens all over the world helps us think about how we can adapt and improve our own product.
There’s also distinctive developments in Europe, where we consistently see a strong demand for alternative accommodations – ultimately influencing us to expand the number of listings and the different types of accommodations we offer, spanning traditional stays and other exciting options, like boats and igloos.