Online travel giant Booking.com plans to ‘revolutionise’ the travel industry as it prepares to move into its new UK headquarters in Manchester.
Booking.com announced plans back in 2018 to make Manchester its global hub for transport, representing a £100m investment over 10 years in the region.
The company is now “on track” to move into its new UK headquarters in November, based at Manchester Goods Yard in Enterprise City.
Since the initial announcement, and a pandemic that plunged the travel sector into turmoil, the firm has bounced back at pace and has been on a hiring spree this year. Already recruiting 300 employees for its Manchester office, the firm has an additional 60 jobs left to fill.
“We plan on continuing to invest and hire in a big way in the North West,” Austin Sheppard, VP of Engineering, told Prolific North in an exclusive interview.
“We are waving our flag, planting it in the ground and saying boldly to the world Manchester is our headquarters for Booking.com. This is not just a regional office, a satellite office for us, this is the second biggest location for employees at Booking.com worldwide.”
In June last year, Sheppard, who is originally from the US, relocated with his family from China and now calls Manchester “home”.
He spent 10 years living and working in China, where he was Chief Technology Officer at global ticket platform StubHub and previously Amazon, where he built and led the engineering teams.
At Booking.com, he is building out the new Trips Business Unit in Manchester, which includes every part of travel aside from accommodation, including rental cars, transfers to attractions.
“My remit is the engineering part of building out the connected trip in everything but the stay at Booking.
“In the last two years since we formed this business group, we put a big strategy on making sure that Booking.com becomes not only a full-service online travel agency, but also allows us to connect those trips together.
“Coming to a company that’s already a leader in travel, but has a pretty big problem still to build, there’s a big gap in the product market when it comes to the connected trip.
“Nobody is really doing it very well, that’s an opportunity for us as a leader to still revolutionise the travel industry once again and build something meaningful for customers and meaningful for technologists as well.”