On Thursday February 10th, Booking.com announced that it would lay off 2,700 customer service employees worldwide amid plans to outsource nearly all of its customer service operations, Dutch news outlet NL Times reports. The Dutch firm has 14 in-house support centers, 12 of which currently located in Europe, Asia and the Americas, will be transferred in the coming months to customer service outsourcing giant Majorel, which said the move “will allow Booking.com to focus more on strategic areas of competitive advantage.”
The affected employees learned of the resolution through a video message sent by the company’s CEO, Glenn Fogel, who offered them to move to Majorel or else lose their jobs. Fogel also argued that the reorganization is necessary to ensure that the company remains “sufficiently flexible” so that fewer people need to be employed during off-peak periods. The decision caused uncertainty among the workers, as although most of those who accept the transfer will get a six-month contract, the consequences of refusing the transfer were not clearly explained.
Idris Elba, the well-known British actor, appeared in Booking.com‘s commercial featured during the 2022 Super Bowl on Sunday February 13th. During the clip, Idris addresses the realities of the company – and their not-so-inventive, flashy or creative name and company.
“In this Big Game ad, Idris Elba takes you on a special journey into the heart and soul of Booking.com. In a way that only he could pull off. While staying on-script – mostly,” the company declared.
Currently, employees fear that their conditions will change when they are transferred, as well as the possibility of losing severance payments if they refuse to work for Majorel. “This is sad news given today with no notice, no packages offered, no redundancy,” said one employee quoted by Dutch News.
Booking.com currently employs about 5,000 people in customer service and the affected workers represent more than a third of its workforce. Previously, in the summer of 2020, the company announced it would cut staff by around 25% due to the coronavirus pandemic and around 1,000 programmers and managers in Amsterdam lost their jobs.
According to the NL Times, the company reportedly accepted 100 million euros in State aid during the pandemic, including 65 million euros from the Dutch government. It then awarded tens of millions of euros in compensation package to a small number of executives at its US holding company, sparking an uproar that prompted Booking.com to say it would repay the money it took from the Dutch State.