Ladder

Taking the anxiety out of business travel

How Ladder.io’s Michael Taylor uses Booking.com for Business to ensure his employees enjoy their work trips

Michael Taylor, Co-founder & COO of Ladder.io

Ladder.io, COO Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor, Co-founder & COO of Ladder.io

Michael Taylor knows a thing or two about growth. His company, Ladder.io, specialises in giving young businesses a marketing boost to reach a wider audience.

Given its scope, it’s no surprise that Ladder has grown steadily since its founding in 2014. Back then, it was just Michael and his business partner. But now, with four offices across the US and Europe, this growth marketing company is starting to look less like a start-up and more like an established business. And the more clients Ladder has acquired, the more its employees have needed to travel.

Until now, Michael has had a hands-on role in almost every business trip that Ladder employees have taken – something he’s relished. “I really like recommending hotels. I get excited for them. I remember my first business trip – I was like a kid in a candy store. So I hope they have a similar experience,” he explains.

But in recent months, with more and more business travel needed, this approach has become unsustainable. Michael simply doesn’t have the time to research hotels for all his employees.

And although it’s growing rapidly, Ladder isn’t big enough to justify having its own travel organiser – meaning that employees have had to make their own arrangements without a clearly defined travel policy. This has created uncertainty for the employees – and it’s an approach that Michael is keen to move away from.

“What a lot of people don’t realise,” he says, “especially if they’ve done a lot of business travel – it makes junior employees quite anxious. They’re thinking ‘I can’t believe the company is going to spend $300 a night for a hotel in New York!’. The first time that happened to me I had to go back to double- and triple-check the policy.”

“So employees have to try and second-guess you, and that causes a lot of needless anxiety.”

However, that all changed when Michael started using Booking.com for Business. Instead of doing his own research every time an employee is due to travel, he can simply save tried-and-tested hotels where he knows they’ll have a good experience – and those hotels are then highlighted any time an employee makes a search in the tool.

“Booking.com for Business allows me to give them a good experience without taking any of my time.”

“I realised I could just save these places, so employees can benefit from my experience and knowledge, but without me having to spend time doing it,” he adds.

On top of that, integrated budget caps suddenly eliminate that uncertainty for the employees, empowering them to make choices without fretting about company policy. “It gives employees permission to be a bit more free and worry a lot less about booking their trips,” Michael explains.

As he’s used the tool more, Michael has noticed more features that fit with the way he works. “One thing I found a while back – which I thought was really cool – was that you can filter by reviews from business travellers. I thought that was a real insight, because one problem I have with review sites is: ‘Can I relate specifically to the reviewer?’. It’s been really helpful.”

Using the tool, his employees can find and book hotels within budget, and he can monitor the company’s travel spend much more easily. But above all, he’s happy in the knowledge that they’ll taste that same excitement he felt on his first business trip.

“I care first and foremost about the experience of the employee.”

“Digital marketing can be done anywhere, so when we choose to travel it’s purely to build relationships and team culture. Therefore finding the right hotel experience is core to making that trip worthwhile.”

So now, with Booking.com for Business, Michael can finally take a back seat, “Booking.com for Business allows me to give them a good experience without taking any of my time.”