The popularity of the e-book booking app Booking.com has been on a massive surge in Egypt, where tens of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers have been finding ways to find lodging, meals, food and other basics.
The app, which was launched last year in the United Arab Emirates, is used by around 100,000 people per month, according to the company’s founder.
Many refugees are seeking to find temporary shelter in the country, where there is no permanent solution for the nearly half-million refugees who have fled war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.
“It’s been a huge hit in Egypt.
And it’s been very successful in the beginning.
We’ve been able to get people to come out to Booking,” says Ali Zayid, the CEO of Booking, which has been operating in Egypt since September 2015.
“A lot of people come from Syria and Iraq.
So, we’ve been seeing a lot of Syrians come here.”
Zayad says Booking has also seen an uptick in bookings from people who had no previous contact with the country.
But it’s not just Syrians.
“The refugees have been coming in from a lot more places than just Syria,” Zayd says.
“They’re from all over the Middle-East and Africa.”
And the refugees have also been able find housing and meals through the app.
“Booking has really helped refugees find housing.
And in the middle of the night, we get a call from the refugees saying, ‘Hey, we just moved into this house,'” Zayed says.
Refugees are also using Booking to book hotels, restaurants, and other accommodations.
“We’ve been helping them to book accommodations, like a small guesthouse,” Zeyad says.
The company’s popularity is a result of the ease of use and ease of booking for refugees, Zayade says.
When you book on Booking you’re not paying for the room, the food or the service.
You’re just booking on Bookings.
“People are booking on us because Booking lets them book accommodation for free,” he says.
But there’s another reason Booking is getting so much traction: its mobile app, as well as its website, have been making the process of finding a place to stay so much easier.
Zayada says Bookings has also partnered with several hotel chains to offer hotels in Cairo and Alexandria.
“It’s a big success.
And I think Booking can do that with other cities too, so we’re seeing a big growth of Bookings, which is the perfect example of how to make a mobile app a success,” Zayed says.
And that success is not limited to refugees.
The refugee resettlement agency International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been using Bookings to get refugees into their countries.
“IOM is very impressed with Bookings app and we see it is really helpful for refugees,” says Joanne Korn, IOM’s director of policy and migration.
“So, I hope Bookings can be used by other organizations in the future as well.”
In addition to Bookings and other apps, Booking also helps refugees pay for food, clothing, and health care.
The group is also working to improve the app’s mobile experience and to make it even more useful for refugees.
“In the past, Bookings was hard to use for many people, especially for refugees who are living in their own homes.
But we’ve made significant improvements in the last year and a half,” Zaysaid says.
Booking will continue to grow as the refugee crisis worsens.
“There’s no doubt Bookings is going to be a success for refugees and other people in need of accommodation,” Zaid says, “and Bookings will help them find accommodation and provide them with other services like food and clothing.”