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Booking.com Announces Startup Award Recipients of Grants to Develop Innovative Sustainable Travel Solutions for Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – 12 OCTOBER 2018 – Today Booking.com, one of the world’s largest travel e-commerce companies and a digital technology leader, announced the teams of innovators that are receiving grants as part of its first Cares Lab held in the company’s home city of Amsterdam this week.

Over the course of the last three days, 10 teams of innovators from across Europe were paired with a Booking.com mentor and were challenged to develop solution-specific project plans around one of the following themes, using the city of Amsterdam as their inspiration:

  • Tourism Dispersal: relieving pressure on crowded tourist areas;
  • Inclusive Growth: making sure that everyone in the city benefits from the growing tourism opportunity, including an even more diverse array of local businesses; and
  • Behavioral Awareness: educating travelers about how to act more like a local, including tackling topics related to littering and street pollution, noise control, and waste management, i.e. recycling and sorting, etc.

The program culminated with the teams of innovators pitching their plans to an expert jury in order to win grants between €10,000 and €25,000, with the TravelTime Platform by iGeolise winning the top grant of €24,000. Other teams receiving grants were Clio Muse for €20,000, Secret City Trails for €19,000 and Seavents for €18,000. The teams now have 30 days to bring their ideas to life and implement their proposed solutions for Amsterdam. The teams that show the most progress at that point will be eligible to receive an additional grant.


With operations in the Netherlands, iGeolise are the creators of the TravelTime platform API, a technology that can calculate travel times from a single point of origin for up to 2,000 different destinations in under 300 milliseconds. With this technology as the basis, iGeolise will leverage their technology with third-party developers to create multiple apps that help tourists discover activities and things to do that are outside of Amsterdam’s central canal belt, showcasing how many places tourists can explore with public transport in a travel time of 30 minutes or less.


Secret City Trails got its start in Amsterdam and now offers more than 30 city discovery games in 14 destinations across Europe. Through their urban adventure games, travelers and locals solve a trail of riddles. With each riddle solved, they unlock stories about the sights and area, as well as secret recommendations to hidden gems and wonderful local cafes and bars, promoting both cultural heritage and supporting a wide variety of local businesses. With Amsterdam as their top-selling destination, with their grant they plan to scale up their efforts and add even more games to their portfolio for the city.


The Dutch founders of Seavents want to tackle the plastic pollution problem at the source by showing event and festival managers that going zero waste is a no brainer. By using on-site composting machines and providing attractive waste sorting stations with clear signage, Seavents encourages festival goers to interact with waste in a positive way. During the pilot phase of their project, they plan to save more than 58 tons of waste from incineration at Amsterdam area festivals alone.

“It’s been inspiring to see how these innovators are all leveraging technology in very different ways to tackle some of the unique challenges related to sustainable tourism, developing creative solutions that can be applied not only to Amsterdam, but to other urban areas around Europe and beyond,” said Marianne Gybels, who leads CSR globally for Booking.com. “We’re looking forward to following their progress and supporting them further as they seek to make a measurable impact and scale their ideas to reach even more communities.”

“Getting funding from the Booking Cares Lab is a fantastic opportunity for us as a location-based business,” said Louisa Bainbridge, Head of Marketing for iGeolise. “It means we can combine insights from the City of Amsterdam with our own product development. This enables us to create an end product that is not just great for our business, but makes a positive impact on the city, its residents and visitors.”


Other teams that participated in the Amsterdam Booking Cares Lab include CultureMee, De Gezonde Stad, Landmrk, Tourmerang, Wander Technologies and YourTour Ventures.

In helping travelers to explore and experience more than 142,000 unique destinations all over the world, Booking.com also seeks to contribute to the ongoing health of these same destinations so that future generations can continue to enjoy them for years to come. To support that vision, the aim of the Booking Cares Labs is to tackle tourism-related topics in destinations around the globe by joining forces with local organizations wherever possible in order to inspire innovative solutions generated by ambitious sustainable tourism changemakers from both the for-profit and non-profit sectors.

Together with the Booking Booster Program and the Booking Cares Fund, the Booking Cares Labs sit alongside Booking.com’s internal volunteer program, where employees have long partnered with local organizations on projects that help improve destinations worldwide. Together these initiatives make up and further expand Booking.com’s commitment to make a positive impact on the global tourism industry. For more information about upcoming programs and opportunities, please visit the Booking Cares website.