1. About the Booking Cares Fund
A. Why is Booking.com doing this?
In helping travellers to explore and experience more than 120,000 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.
For the past three years we have contributed to improving destinations all over the world by volunteering our time and expertise through the Booking Cares Volunteer Programme. Our 15,000+ employees have been making a difference by partnering with local organisations that are working on sustainable tourism initiatives all across the globe.
Early this year Booking.com launched the Booking Booster, a three-week accelerator programme for scale-ups dedicated to sustainable tourism, culminating in an opportunity to pitch for grants of up to €500,000. With the Booking Booster, we aim to turn tourism into a force for good by supporting a select group of extraordinary startups as they look to scale their businesses and impact globally. This December Booking.com announced the extended 2018 Booster programme after its successful first year.
Booking.com wants to make a positive, lasting impression on the global tourism industry. We know that change is a process carried by an entire ecosystem. An ecosystem where travel operators, researchers, NGOs, institutes, social enterprises, and government entities are working hand in hand to transform the travel industry into a force for good.
Therefore Booking.com launched a grant fund of 2 million euro to support pioneering non-profit initiatives in sustainable tourism. The Booking Cares Fund champions sustainable tourism changemakers in their search for new and unexpected solutions that reimagine the tourism and travel space. With the Fund we support projects that strengthen local communities, preserve & promote local culture, help disperse tourism and protect natural resources.
The Booking Booster Programme, The Booster labs and the Booking Cares Fund have all been specially designed to support important players in different sectors throughout the entire sustainable tourism ecosystem. By identifying, funding and mentoring early stage start-ups, social enterprises scale-ups and the non-profit projects and changemakers from universities, governments and NGOs that bring them all together, Booking.com can help make an even more meaningful impact to affect real change and guarantee a healthy and sustainable future for thousands of destinations all around the world.
B. What are the key stages and dates?
|Deadline for application||23.59 CET on 7 January 2018|
|Shortlisted applicants answer extra set of questions||Monday 22 January - 30 January 2018|
|Phone interviews with shortlisted applicants||5 February - 12 February 2018|
|Final grant awarding||Beginning of March 2018|
|Start dream projects||April or May 2018|
|End dream projects||Latest April or May 2019|
2. Eligibility Changemakers
A. Who will be eligible to apply?
Any changemaker, over 18 years old, representing an organisation with an legal entity, with an original idea for a project that reimagines the tourism and travel space to strengthen local communities, preserve & promote local culture and protect natural resources.
Changemakers can come from all over the world, representing universities, non-profits, research institutes and governments. Leaders with bold, ambitious ideas to truly transform the sustainable tourism industry will be awarded with grants between €100 and €250k.
Entries will be judged on a project’s potential to produce meaningful change that can scale.
B. Should I apply as an individual or as an organisation?
This might seem confusing, but we would like you to apply as an individual but we will sign the grant agreement with the organisation that you represent.
We believe investing in and backing the right people. Leaders who embrace risk and dream up bold ideas, who just need funds and support to get started. You as a changemaker will lead the project and will be expected to meet the requirements of the grant fund. The organisation that you represent will have the role of budget keeper and the awarded grants will be transferred to the organisation that you represent. Therefore they become the official applicant based on the following criteria:
Any Applicant (organisation that YOU represent) that employs or hires a Changemaker, over 18 years old, with an original idea for a project that reimagines the tourism and travel space to strengthen local communities, preserve & promote local culture and protect natural resources;
The Applicant (organisation that YOU represent) ensure that the Changemaker is available to and will take a lead role and representative position in the execution of the project, while adhering to the requirements of the Booking Cares Fund.
C. How to manage a dream project next to my regular job?
We are looking for people who are already pioneering to transform the travel industry into a force for good. Therefore managing the dream project should feel as a natural extension of your job and passion to transform the travel industry. The key organisation you represent for this dream project should provide you with full capacity and mandate to lead the project towards great success.
D. My project is structured as a for-profit organisation. May I apply for a grant?
Yes, as long as you meet our other eligibility criteria. The Fund seeks applications for innovative bold projects that create meaningful high-impact change in sustainable tourism, regardless of profit or nonprofit structure.
The Booking Cares Fund will only award grants to one-off projects that are new, innovative and have a high R&D component. If you’re looking for support to scale up your social enterprise (dedicated to sustainable tourism) please read more about out Booking Booster programme here.
E. Are grant funds paid to the individual applicant or to an affiliated organisation (e.g., university, agency, NGO)?
The grant funds will be paid to the organisation that you represent with a legal entity. You, as a Changemaker, can apply with a project involving multiple stakeholders, but only one of the organizations will have the role of budget keeper.
3. What we fund
A. How does the Booking Cares fund define a "dream project"?
We invite Changemakers to apply for a grant with a bold idea for a project that reimagines the tourism and travel space to strengthen local communities, preserve & promote local culture and protect natural resources.
The dream project should have demonstrable achievable impact within 12 months. Think of experimenting with a new product design, action research, a new unexpected partnership between travel chain partners and so on.
We will especially look for dream projects with the following characteristics:
- Driving innovation in sustainable travel: We are looking for projects that are disruptive, ground-breaking and innovative. It must have a truly transformational character, not just a tweak to current practice
- Meaningful change that can scale: The best ideas positively impact as many people as possible. The grantees are experimenting with new models that have the potential to produce meaningful change that can scale.
- Backed by data and measurable results: When ideas aren’t backed by research and data, impact is harder to accomplish and measure. We look for innovations that break down big problems into small ones, and then test and iterate solutions.
B. How much will the Booking Cares Fund award to a project?
We will generally award grants between €100 and €250k. However we stay open to ideas and opportunities and will exercise flexibility at our discretion.
C. What is the duration of approved dream projects?
The dream project should have demonstrable impact within 12 months, starting in April or May 2018. Meaning that the project can take between 1 to 12 months max.
D. What types of projects are not eligible for the Booking Cares Fund?
Application is not open for:
Requests to cover ongoing operating costs
Projects with activities to propagate a religious faith
Projects with activities to propagate a political party or affiliation
Scholarships & study abroad programmes
E. Does the project have to be linked to the Booking.com product in some way?
The Booking Cares Fund encourages you to look at whether there are possible connections to Booking.com’s products and services and how your project can add value for Booking.com’s customers in the near future.
A. Who will select the successful applications?
A review panel consisting of a cross-functional team at Booking.com and external experts on sustainable tourism.
B. Will I know who reviewed my application?
No, we do not share the identity of our grant reviewers.
C. Does the application have to be for a new project, or can it be for a project already in progress?
Yes, it should be for a new project. However, the project can be a pilot and/or experiments as part of a bigger ongoing programme ran by the organisation(s) you represent.
D. Who will see my application and will it be kept confidential?
Your application will be reviewed by the review panel and shared with a select group of Booking.com employees. We never share applications publicly without consent.
E. Can I apply for more than one project?
No, The Booking Cares Fund only allows one submission per Changemaker per year.
F. My application was declined. Can you share the review panel comments?
Due to the volume of applications we receive, we do not provide feedback to applicants whose projects have been declined. For feedback on how you can improve your proposal for the next round of application, please reach out to the Booking Cares Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
G. I’m not sure if my proposal meets your criteria. May I schedule a personal interview or phone call to review my proposal before I decide whether to apply?
Unfortunately our small team is not able to meet with all applicants in person, but feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
5. After grant awarding
A. When can I expect to receive my grant award payment?
When you received the announcement of a successful grant application (yay!), you will be asked to sign a payment acceptance form. We will transfer the funds after you return the completed paperwork.
B. Does the Booking Cares Fund require progress reports or project updates?
If you receive a grant from the Booking Cares Fund, you will be required to submit quarterly progress reports of the project including budget updates and newly gained insights & learnings.
C. I have made some changes to my project plan after the grant was awarded to me. Does that affect the grant I received?
If you have made minor revisions to your project plan and the intended use of funds is consistent with the proposal we approved, you do not need to notify the Booking Cares team. For any major updates, please reach out to our team to communicate the desired changes beforehand at firstname.lastname@example.org.
D. Is it possible to change or extend my project dates after my grant has been awarded?
Preferably not. But If the reasons are legitimate, project dates can be extended after checking in with the Booking Cares team. However, an extension will not result in additional funding.