Europe/Amsterdam Reveals the Three Incredible Travel Stories That Won its #BookingHero Competition uncovers unforgettable travel experiences in Scotland, New York and Sri Lanka that highlight acts of extraordinary hospitality

TORONTO — MARCH 21, 2018 — What do a dream wedding in New York, an adventure through the mountains of Sri Lanka and a family’s search for their roots in Scotland all have in common? All saw a hospitality professional going out of their way to make or save someone’s trip and today, the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, is sharing their stories with the world as the winners of its first-ever Booking Hero competition.

Following thousands of submissions via social media, have selected the three most touching and inspiring accounts of hospitality professionals going above and beyond to create unique and unforgettable travel experiences for their guests. The customers were then flown back to surprise their Heroes in person and to say thank you for making (and saving) their trips, with all the emotional reunions caught live on camera. is now showcasing these stories and sharing them with the world: including a B&B owner in Scotland who helped a Canadian customer find the house where his father was born before immigrating to North America; a hotel receptionist who came to the rescue and saved a Belgian bride’s dream photo shoot in Central Park; and a pregnant host about to give birth in Sri Lanka who kept her homestay open to care for an injured hiker from the Netherlands.

Booking Hero grand prize winners of €25,000 in travel credit on

Karen, Owner of Blackburn Villa B&B in Ayr, Scotland

Nominated by David and Virginia from Canada

Booking Hero runners-up winning €5,000 in travel credit on

Sudarshi, Owner of Tunnel Gap Homestay in Ella, Sri Lanka

Nominated by Harry and Nienke from the Netherlands

Booking Hero runners-up winning €5,000 in travel credit on

Alina, Receptionist at citizenM Hotel in New York City, USA

Nominated by Els and Kevin from Belgium

“These stunning stories are testament to the incredible dedication, commitment and passion that our partners put into creating truly memorable experiences for travellers day in and day out,” said Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer, “They beautifully demonstrate that an amazing trip is about more than simply finding the right destination or the perfect accommodation—it’s also about the people you meet along the way which truly make for an unforgettable journey. And that’s what travel is all about.”

This sentiment is echoed by Karen McClelland, Booking Hero and Owner of Blackburn Villa B&B in Ayr, Scotland. “What I enjoy most about what I do is meeting people from all walks of life from lots of different places, all coming to stay for different reasons,” says Karen. “As I am welcoming people into my home, I want them to feel relaxed and able to ask anything of me. To be recognised as a Booking Hero is the ultimate confirmation that I am doing things right! But nothing compares to seeing the joy on Dave and Virginia’s faces when I was able to help them with their research and connect them with their Scottish roots. They’re more than just guests now, they’re friends.”

According to recent research conducted by across 25 markets in 2017, a personal connection is essential for many travellers with 29% saying that an accommodation feeling like home is key and 24% sharing that a welcoming host is a make or break factor during the first 24 hours of their trip.

“Staying with Karen is like staying with your new best friend. You feel welcome the moment you walk in the door. She works hard to make your breakfast special and gives you more than the comforts you would get at home. We felt truly pampered,” said Virginia Persson, Booking Hero nominator from Vancouver Island, British Columbia in Canada. “Even more incredibly, just as we were losing hope towards the end of our stay, Karen helped us find Dave’s Scottish family which was the true purpose of our trip to Scotland. In this respect, she changed our lives.” is launching these winning Booking Heroes stories today as the heart of a new campaign on social media with long-form video content that extends the #BookingHero message, with TV to follow.