Skift Take

We could hear more about Booking Holdings' rationale for eliminating a chunk of Booking.com's customer service workforce when the parent company reports its fourth quarter earnings February 23. It saves money to outsource operations, but doesn't foster better relationships with customers.

After Booking Holdings laid off about 25 percent of its workforce across 60 countries in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic, its Booking.com unit is lopping off another 2,700 call center jobs in the next few months.

The employees of about a dozen call centers, but not staff in Amsterdam or Manchester, UK, will take up positions for outsourcing specialist Majorel, which is based in Luxembourg.

Majorel announced a heightened partnership with Booking.com, which is transferring a dozen of its 14 call centers in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas to Majorel. Since the outsourcing company would be operating the Booking.com call centers involved in the deal, the former Booking employees would presumably work for Majorel in their current work locations. Booking employees in Amsterdam and Manchester are not part of the deal.

The deal is dependent upon regulatory approval.

“We believe that working with a team of dedicated experts is the best way to ensure we meet our customers’ and partners’ needs as we continue to expand the diversity of our product offering on Booking.com,” Booking.com said in a statement. “Majorel is a key strategic partner for us, already employing around 2,700 employees that support Booking.com, and we look forward to continuing to leverage their industry-leading customer service expertise to help us scale up efficiently to meet the evolving demands of our business.”

Booking Holdings had 20,300 employees at the end of 2020, but that was prior to additional layoffs taking place in the Netherlands, France, a few other countries in 2021. Booking.com, based in Amsterdam, is its largest brand.

Booking.com has increasingly been outsourcing customer service functions over the last few years.

News of this outsourcing move comes as Booking.com is broadening the scope of its products from accommodations to tours and activities and most recently flights.

The publication DutchNews.nl reported: “The news affects 12 of the 14 Booking customer service departments in Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Americas and the reorganization is needed to ensure the company remains ‘sufficiently flexible’, (CEO Glenn) Fogel said, so that fewer staff need to be employed during quieter periods.”

Note: This story has been updated to provide more information about the status of employees who would be eliminated from the Booking.com payroll.

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Tags: booking holdings, booking.com, call centers, customer service, layoffs, outsourcing

Photo credit: Booking.com is outsourcing customer service jobs. Bookin.com