Personally, we plan our trips down to the minute, so the chance of something unexpected happening is very, well, unexpectable.
Though, when unpredictable events happen while travelling, it’s not always a bad thing.
In fact, some of the best experiences are borne out of an accidental train trip, missing a flight and booking a hotel in the wrong neighbourhood.
Don’t believe us?
Booking.com has unveiled the winners of its #BookingHeroes competition, a celebration of extraordinary experiences delivered to consumers within their travels around the globe.
And the stories are pretty incredible.
Booking.com received thousands of submissions via social media and have selected the three most touching and inspiring accounts of hospitality professionals going above and beyond to create unique and unforgettable travel experiences for our customers.
The customers were then flown back to surprise their Heroes in person and to say thank you for making (and saving) their trips, with all the emotional reunions caught live on camera.
Booking.com is now showcasing these stories and sharing them with the world.
A B&B owner in Scotland who helped a Canadian customer find the house where his father was born before immigrating to North America.
A hotel receptionist who came to the rescue and saved a Belgian bride’s dream photo shoot in Central Park.
And a pregnant host about to give birth in Sri Lanka who kept her homestay open to care for an injured hiker from the Netherlands.
Peter Verhoeven, Vice President of Partner Services at Booking.com said: “We are so appreciative of the outstanding commitment and dedication of our partners around the world.”
“They pour so much of themselves into their business and into creating truly extraordinary experiences for travellers each and every day.”
“These three amazing stories perfectly capture the unique and personal moments that make travel so special. Outstanding acts of kindness and generosity like this really are the backbone of the entire hospitality industry.”
“We couldn’t be more proud of our exceptional partners around the globe and are looking forward to surfacing even more incredible stories like this in the future.”
According to recent research conducted by Booking.com across 25 markets in 2017, a personal connection is essential for many travellers with 29 per cent saying that an accommodation feeling like home is key and 24 per cent sharing that a welcoming host is a make or break factor during the first 24 hours of their trip.
Virginia Persson, Booking Hero nominator from Vancouver Island, British Columbia in Canada said: “Staying with Karen is like staying with your new best friend.”
“You feel welcome the moment you walk in the door. She works hard to make your breakfast special and gives you more than the comforts you would get at home. We felt truly pampered.”
“Even more incredibly, just as we were losing hope towards the end of our stay, Karen helped us find Dave’s Scottish family which was the true purpose of our trip to Scotland. In this respect, she changed our lives.”
Karen McClelland, Booking Hero and Owner of Blackburn Villa B&B in Ayr, Scotland said: “What I enjoy most about what I do is meeting people from all walks of life from lots of different places, all coming to stay for different reasons.”
“As I am welcoming people into my home, I want them to feel relaxed and able to ask anything of me. To be recognised as a Booking Hero is the ultimate confirmation that I am doing things right!”
“But nothing compares to seeing the joy on Dave and Virginia’s faces when I was able to help them with their research and connect them with their Scottish roots. They’re more than just guests now, they’re friends.”