Online booking giant in big Australian push

One of the world's biggest online accommodation booking sites, booking.com, is muscling further into Australia with a campaign to raise its profile here.

The site, which started in the Netherlands in 1996, claims to be the biggest in the world with 344,753 properties.

Its first-ever Aussie campaign starts on Monday, with advertising on TV, in cinemas and online.

"One out of 10 Australians have already experienced the booking.com brand but we want to tell the other nine about it," said Amsterdam-based chief marketing officer Paul Hennessy.

Booking.com was recently rated as Australia's biggest and fastest-growing online travel agent by Hitwise, a digital data specialist that measures website traffic.

Since 1996, booking.com claims to have booked a billion room nights. Each day it takes 500,000 bookings worldwide and has a million people staying at its properties.

It competes against others such as hotels.com, expedia.com, agoda.com, orbitz.com, travelocity.com and Australian specialists wotif.com and stayz.com.au.

Mr Hennessy, in Australia to launch the campaign, said the site's strengths include the ability to cancel most bookings without penalty and 24 million "bona fide" customer reviews.

"Our reviews are by people who have booked and stayed at the properties. They achieve the three 'Rs' - real, relevant and recent," he said.

"Australians are enthusiastic travellers and have been active reviewers. As part of those reviews we get great insight into what they like."

Some of the feedback includes Dubai being rated No.1 for shopping by Aussies, ahead of London, Paris and New York.

Australians' most popular destinations are London, Paris and Singapore, according to Mr Hennessy. And 43 per cent of them stay in hotels when they travel, but the most adventurous have booked into a glass igloo, a boat shed and even a treehouse.

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