Speaker of the Day

Let your curiosity lead you & don’t be afraid to fail

That’s just one advice Gillian Tans, Chairwoman of Booking.com, has to share with you. Find out more at the Bits & Pretzels Networking Week

Especially the travel and tourism industry is suffering from the pandemic. According to its financial report, Booking Holdings, the parent company of Booking.com, recorded an 84% year-on-year decrease in revenue in the second quarter of 2020. Due to financial support from the Dutch government, the company was able to receive short-term assistance. But what is the long-term impact of the pandemic on the travel industry and what can companies do about it? Gillian Tans, former CEO and now Chairwoman of Booking.com, will answer these questions among others at the Bits & Pretzels Networking Week.

Since becoming a part of Booking.com in 2002, Gillian has had a huge impact on the growth of the company from a startup to a grown-up. As the former CEO from 2016 to 2019, “Gillian has led Booking.com through a period of global growth and product and operational expansion, and has made an invaluable contribution to this success”, said Glenn Fogel, Gillian’s successor as CEO, in the official announcement of the change in leadership. Since 2019, she has operated as Chairwoman and advises the management on the company's long-term vision and operations as well as key growth initiatives.

As one of only a few women in leadership positions in tech companies, Gillian actively encourages women to seek a career in the technical field and strive for executive positions by supporting them through mentorship and being a role model herself. She advises women “to let their curiosities lead them so that they have an insatiable hunger to explore new opportunities, question the norm and learn new things” and not to be afraid to make mistakes because “as long as you learn from them, there is growth”, she said in an interview with EU-Startups.

With decades of experience in the travel and tourism industry, Gillian is best equipped to track changes and trends in society's travel behavior. "More and more we see that consumers really care about overtourism, and think about making a different type of choice. Consumers also want companies to show them sustainable choices", she said in an interview with Forbes. Booking.com is contributing to this: the so-called "Booking Booster" is intended to actively support startups in the field of sustainable tourism to achieve a greater impact. 

You are wondering what new strategies Booking.com has developed to make it through the pandemic and would like to learn from a successful executive like Gillian how to manage your startup best to achieve maximum success? Join us now and become part of the Bits & Pretzels Networking Week (Sept 27th to Oct 2nd) to hear Gillian talk as part of our The Story Behind track, and get all these questions answered!