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Booking Quietly Taps Google Heavy Hitter to Lead Marketing in Exec Reorg

Dennis Schaal, Skift
Booking Quietly Taps Google Heavy Hitter to Lead Marketing in Exec Reorg

Muffled amidst the noise of Booking.com tapping Glenn Fogel as CEO and forcing out Gillian Tans from that position a month ago is the news that Booking Holdings’ flagship brand has brought on a heavy hitter from Google to be its chief marketing officer.

Absent a public announcement, Skift has learned that Netherlands native Arjan Dijk, most previously Google’s vice president of global marketing, assumed the position of senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Booking.com in June. Booking.com is headquartered in Amsterdam.

A blurb on a Booking.com page about its executives’ biographies states about Dijk: “A key leader of the Booking.com business, Arjan leads the company’s global marketing efforts, overseeing strategy and execution of all initiatives across the marketing funnel, including the brand, social, performance and innovation marketing tracks.”

Lots of Google Experience

Dijk served as Google’s vice president of global marketing for more than a decade until assuming his new position at Booking.com in June. At Booking.com, Dijk replaced Pepijn Rijvers in the CMO role. Rijvers stays on with the company as senior vice president of accommodation, a position he’s held since January.

Come Hear Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel Speak at Skift Global Forum on Sept. 18. Get Tickets Now

Djik takes on the CMO role at Booking.com at a key moment. The parent company is in the midst of trying to tilt its traditional search engine marketing bent toward increased emphasis on brand marketing, including TV, in a bid to attract more direct traffic, which officials have stated stands at more than 50 percent of all visitors.

At Google, according to Dijk’s Booking.com biography, he was tasked with “overall strategy and operations for Google’s marketing worldwide. His responsibilities included the marketing of Google’s suite of ads product solutions globally. Arjan also led media strategy and execution for all paid media across Google’s marketing campaigns.”

Close Cooperation With Google

Officials at Booking.com have likely known and worked with Dijk for many years. Booking.com is one of Google’s largest travel advertisers, and Booking officials have frequently emphasized how the two companies have collaborated intensely on Google Hotel Ads and other Google travel features.

LGBTQ Advocate

Dijk is a prominent LGBTQ advocate, according to Business Insider. The publication wrote about Booking.com’s new CMO in 2015. “Dijk is one of the executives that manages a large international team across 43 countries. He is also one of the most influential LGBT advocates as part of his role as Global Executive Sponsor of Google’s LGBT employee resource group dubbed the ‘Gayglers.’ OUTstanding noted that under Dijk’s direct leadership, Google released a form of advertising that had a global impact  — it was of a story of a transgender individual.”

In this video, Dijk described how creating a work atmosphere where LGBTQ employees feel comfortable to be open about being themselves makes for a more productive workforce.

Fogel, who became president and CEO of Booking Holdings in 2017, added the CEO role of Booking.com, the parent company’s largest unit, in late June, and Tans, who had been CEO of Booking.com since 2016, moved to the newly created position of chairwoman for a year.

Other Moves

In other moves that haven’t been widely publicized, in June Booking.com appointed James Waters senior vice president of commercial operations, Waters had previously served as vice president of Booking.com customer service for two years.

The brand also named FareHarbor co-founder Lawrence Hester as vice president of attractions. Booking Holdings acquired FareHarbor, a tours and activities software provider, in 2018.

Booking.com couldn’t immediately be reached for comment about the executive changes.

Come Hear Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel Speak at Skift Global Forum on Sept. 18. Get Tickets Now

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