‘Best of 2018’: Jean-Baptiste Couly From Booking.com Says Don’t Overlook the Value of Strategic Partnerships

Jean-Baptiste Couly

Senior Account Manager – Strategic Partnerships, Booking.com

For the final installment of our ‘Best of 2018’ series we sat down with Jean-Baptiste Couly, a senior account manager for the winner of best overall app, Booking.com for Samsung. The ‘Best of 2018’ awards recognize the top publishers who have stood out amongst the Galaxy Apps Store’s boutique of expertly curated apps. Check out his advice on working with the Made for Samsung program to help you deliver top performing mobile apps.

How did you get into the mobile app business?

I may not be a developer, but I have worked closely with several developers over the last five years. I graduated from business school and in my current role, I am more involved in helping to build and nurture new partnerships for Booking.com, with the ultimate goal of empowering people to experience the world. Part of that is making sure they have the information they need for their trip available to them at their fingertips. Whether potential customers come to us from an airline, a bank, or a mobile manufacturer, we believe in delivering the same seamless travel experience and part of that is building long-term relationships with key players across several industries.

What is it about the Made for Samsung version of the Booking.com app that has led to its success?

I think the Booking.com for Samsung app has been successful for two main reasons. The first one is that we relied on what we already know works best from the Booking.com Android app. This was the result of years of optimization and A/B testing to deliver the best user experience, basically one that helps travelers find the perfect stay in the simplest way. The second reason is that we took this already fully optimized app and then adapted it further to be perfectly tailored for Samsung users, including a fully cobranded UX and exclusive branded deals, which are easily surfaced in the search results.

What was a key learning from your experience developing the Booking.com app?

No matter the screen size, it's about listening to the needs of your customers and continuously experimenting to optimize the user experience. It sounds easy, but it takes a lot of hard work and a real determination to truly understand your customers. You’ve got to learn how to leverage the right data and insights to make smart, scalable decisions that drive your product forward.

Watch Jean-Baptiste Couly answer some questions about how they’ve developed a top app with the Made for Samsung program.

What are some UX considerations you have to take into account when developing a Made for Samsung app?

It was important for us to make sure that we were offering a differentiated experience for Samsung users and to fit the Made for Samsung guidelines. We also were ultimately targeting Samsung users with a dedicated product. This meant leveraging the Galaxy Apps Store as a marketing channel, while also being at the forefront of utilizing other Samsung features that enhance the overall user experience, like Gear and Bixby.

Is there something specific that makes Made for Samsung apps stand out?

I've had the chance to meet different leaders behind Made for Samsung apps, and I think that their passion for creating a beautiful product that Samsung users will love to use is what helps them create popular apps.

How can developers get the most out of the Made for Samsung program? It’s important to make sure the product being developed matches the Made for Samsung guidelines, but I'd also recommend thinking about how this can be a starting point for a long-term partnership with Samsung. Get in the mindset of a strategic partner. This means staying informed about the latest updates on Samsung features, and how to best leverage the Samsung ecosystem in the future.

What advice do you have for new developers looking to create a successful mobile app business?

Always stay focused on your customers and remain nimble. Make sure that you and your business are able to pivot and adapt quickly based on data, testing and learning.

Are there emerging technologies that you’re keeping your eye on?

At Booking.com, we're always open to exploring new and emerging technologies, especially if it enhances our product and delivers truly meaningful value for our customers. For example, to provide a more personalized experience and improve our service, we take advantage of AI. Every customer that uses Booking.com is touched by machine learning from the moment they search for a great place to stay, through to when they ask our Booking Assistant chatbot if they can check-in late.

When it comes specifically to Samsung, there are a lot of possibilities with Bixby and figuring out how voice can be a useful part of the traveler experience in the future. Another area would be anything Samsung can offer to leverage more data and machine learning applications for partners. For example, being able to target a Galaxy S9 user in Korea differently from a Note 9 user in the US, whether it's from a product or marketing messaging standpoint.

How has Samsung helped your business?

Working together with Samsung has enabled us to reach new audiences of customers and engage them with our product, ultimately helping more people to connect with great travel experiences. We’re very pleased with the partnership and look forward to what the future brings.

Thanks to Jean-Baptiste Couly for sharing his insights on the Made for Samsung app program. Be sure to follow us on @samsung_dev for more great advice on developing for Samsung. For now, you can find out more about the program in our Samsung Best of 2018 Winners Announced post.