Booking.com is the world’s leading digital travel company with a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world. To date, Booking.com offers over 28 million accommodation choices across 224 countries, and its website content is available in 43 languages to target every type of traveler. Such a diverse customer base coupled with a hyper-personalized marketing strategy means hundreds of targeted assets are needed for every campaign. The challenge for Booking.com’s marketing production team is in creating these campaigns with an eye for consistency, creativity, and cost.
In 2017, Booking.com’s production team was looking into tools that could help them create, scale, and locally adapt their creative campaigns. Existing solutions either required making concessions on the creative quality or didn’t cater to changing needs and agile creativity.
Around the same time Booking.com was working with Ambassadors on the creative production of campaign films, Head of Brand Marketing Carine van der Heijden and her Booking.com production team got to know Cube and its newly-developed creative automation solution Compose. Cube had been developed as a cloud-based tool by Ambassadors’ Innovation Lab led by Diederik Veelo, who had set out on a mission to simplify the traditional production workflow; from creation to adaptation, approval rounds, and media distribution. As a platform developed within a creative production studio, Cube was designed specifically for supporting marketing and production teams and the daily pain-points of producing assets at scale.
Cube coming from Ambassadors as a production house means it’s not a tool that has been built purely to gain efficiency, but it's actually bringing two worlds together. It's quality first and then scalability. And that’s what makes the difference.
Booking.com started using Cube to easily share and manage assets, later integrating templating tool Cube Compose into their production pipeline to create image and video templates. Typically, brands’ central marketing teams develop a master file and pass the creative on to the local markets with a brand book – and hope for the best that the local teams create content that is within the brand guidelines and quality standards. However, this approach often results in inconsistency. Cube as a central hub paired with Cube Compose’s custom-built templates allows Booking.com to foster flexibilities in creative execution, while still maintaining brand control.
To begin, Booking.com’s creative team will work on a creative concept, often with Ambassadors. Cube’s developers will then transform this campaign and campaign requirements into a custom-built template with various options for layout, copy, and media types. Once the template is ready, users can easily use the template to output or deliver customized media and videos one by one or in bulk.
Creating quality assets at scale doesn’t necessarily need an artist or creative studio supporting at each step of the way. Cube Compose’s custom-built templates help minimize repetitive efforts and ensure creative teams can spend time on being creative, with campaign adaptation and rollout able to be either taken in-house or achieved much faster by a production partner. With this, Booking.com has saved hundreds of hours of work, reduce their need for ongoing creative supplier support, and leave less room for human error.
Scaling and adapting
“The moment we notice that a campaign is working really well in a specific market, we quickly want to adapt and scale it into others using the Cube Compose tool,” says Carine. Compose templates enable the teams to localize their campaign assets quickly, simply by replacing titles and voiceovers. Changes can be done automatically via a datasheet or directly in the template itself.
Before Booking.com used Cube, we had a really complex localization process, which meant that we were working with a lot of different partners and people to make sure that we could localize one asset into a specific market.
Optimizing quality control
With Cube developed within a creative production studio, there’s an ingrained understanding of the challenge in producing hundreds of assets at a time while still keeping a high standard of quality. For years, post-production has been tasked with offering a creative eye on quality control, however, it can often lead to human error just as much. With this in mind, Cube helps empower companies to produce content on their own with the safety rails of a custom template providing a good level of security, rather than a guiding brand book that’s open for interpretation.
Since 2017, Cube, and in particular its custom-templating tool Compose, has helped Booking.com create, scale, and deliver thousands of assets for campaigns targeting every type of traveler – from the backpacker to luxury stay, and when travel has been restricted, people seeking a getaway that’s closer to home. The message Booking.com needs to share with its global customers is always changing, and as Carine says, “The team at Cube is really flexible, always trying to find solutions for us. And they are already on this journey with us since 2017. I'm really excited about where it's going to bring us.”