SBE Alumni: We Go Places! Graduates of SBE launch careers all over the world in a broad range of industries. This month, we are featuring alumni who have combined their talent for business and finance with their passion for exploring the world, and found success working in very different roles in the travel industry.
Maastricht University School of Business and Economics (SBE) alumna Ireen Rempt says it was her personal passion for travel that first put the travel industry on her radar. “What I love about travelling is discovering the unknown and making connections with people from different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities and beliefs,” she says. “It’s great to feel a part of something bigger. Travelling makes me feel appreciative and grateful, and forces me to connect more with the little things, such as nature, food, my senses and new surroundings.”
She now works for Booking.com—the leading website for hotel and other accommodation reserving—as part of the site’s Payments department. “In my own role, I work in finance, but I also cooperate with product, marketing and technical teams and developers,” Ireen says. “I’m in touch with the full process of going from collecting data to testing the actual ideas you want to experiment with and then also implementing it, and getting to observe the impact this may have on our customers. Not only is it great to be surrounded by people passionate about travelling and inspiring you every day, but we also get to help others experience the world.”
Her work involves setting up various ways for customers to pay for the accommodation they book through the site, and to offer multiple online payment methods. “Business evolves and our vision expands and Booking.com is constantly challenging the status quo,” Ireen says. “Partially due to our competitors, but also due to the change in travel behaviour. People want to experience the world in a safe, secure and easy way. And guests don’t want to have to worry about their payment.”
It’s a challenge, but one that a site like Booking.com offers the right conditions to meet. “Because of our large partner and customer base, we can experiment and learn constantly with the different touch points such as guest user behaviours and their preferred payment methods as well as timing of payment,” Ireen says.
Booking.com is also expanding its business beyond working with hotels. “We also have a home segment, where people can rent rooms, apartments or houses instead of hotel rooms,” Ireen says. “It’s a large and fast-growing market. We also want to focus on the travel experience, by not only connecting customers to accommodations, but also nearby museums, providing guide books with activities in the neighbourhood and other attractions.”
The travel industry itself, she says, is healthy. Travel is something people are always going to want to do, no matter what,” Ireen says. “I think the travel industry is always going to grow.” Ireen herself is very satisfied with her career choice. “I get to help travellers discover new destinations, and help accommodation providers reach their full potential,” she says. “Booking.com has the ability to connect the world. On top of that, I get to work in a diverse multicultural team and connect globally to offices all over the world.”
Ireen Rempt graduated BSc International Business (2009) and MSc Management of Learning (MoL) at Maastricht University School of Business and Economics. She is a Senior Global Payment Operations at Booking.com in Amsterdam.