Director of User Research

Booking.com

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About Booking.com

Booking.com is the planet’s #1 accommodation site. With a mission to empower people to experience the world, Booking.com invests in digital technology that helps take the friction out of travel. Whether in our Amsterdam HQ or at one of our 214 offices worldwide, our 17,000 employees work hard to help make more than one million travel dreams come true every single day. As we continue to scale at incredible speed and embark on our next chapter, we are actively recruiting the next generation of global executives, with exciting opportunities across a broad range of functions.

We are seeking a Director of Research to lead and grow our User Research organisation. This person will propagate a strong User Research practice, define a vision for the org, drive the craft of User Research across the company and influence product development and business strategy at the executive level. The Director User Research will provide mentorship and will be a champion for both Researcher craft and career development, as well as create the operational space and organizational cover to help their team focus on executing their best work. To achieve this world-class level of Research, the Director User Research will work closely with the Senior Director of User Experience, VP of Customer and Product Experience, and Directors of Design and Writing.

You will have incredible knowledge of product-oriented User Research and best practices and how to build a global User Research function. You have a business mindset, adept at driving company-level strategy with extensive experience in engaging with the Senior Director, VP and C-suite to create adoption and action around customer insights. Your body of work and overall strong track record demonstrates both clear wins for the user and business impact. You look beyond the individual customer and can help to define strategic wins for society, communities.

Reporting to the Senior Director of User Experience and sitting in our Product function, you will be a team leader as well as have experience as an active researcher. You will have a knowledge of multi-disciplinary approaches to research methodologies to plan, execute, and report customer interactions with both Booking.com’s partners and customers. You will have a strong and demonstrated ability to apply research to product development--a strong focus on actionability and commercial outcomes is a must.

Championing Research across other divisions of the business including Market Research, Experimentation, Data Science, and Customer Centric metrics will be a key goal, as well as collaborating to ensure the team is best in class, continually innovating and influencing key Product, Marketing and Tech decisions.

This is a fundamental role in Booking.com’s journey to becoming the number one Experiences marketplace in the world. You will have the opportunity to experiment and partake in ground-breaking concepts which will reshape the future of online travel. It is a plus if you have a demonstrated ability to conduct Research in a multi-product e-commerce business.

Key Relationships:

Reports to: Molly Stevens, Senior Director of User Experience

Direct reports: Senior Managers of Research

Key Responsibilities:

The Director of Research will prioritize and lead the team’s ongoing work of discovering user problems and contexts; shaping the design of products; and following through on product outcomes at scale.

You will actively build a strong relationship with business leadership, Marketing, Product, Design and Tech teams to design a world-class consumer experience.

  • Manage, mentor, coach, and inspire a team of Research managers and their reports, providing vision, direction and advocacy
  • Work closely with executive and senior leaders across the company to elevate the level of user understanding in all aspects of  User Research
  • Influence strategy through a team that touches every area of the product and your role in the leadership team
  • Build relationships with cross-functional team members and executives across business units, and be a thought-leader and advocate for user-centered design
  • Connect research to other parts of the company and amplify knowledge across peers in the Customer Insights function
  • Actively leading ideation exercises to push the boundaries of what we build and to improve existing products, both in and outside personal expertise
  • Getting the customer to be at the center of all strategy, product development and commercial decision-making
  • Collaborate with the Design Craft to define prototypes for use during usability testing of proposed designs and interactions.
  • Facilitate a user-centered design and product development process that advocates for users’ needs and perspectives.
  • Provide a supportive environment for team members to continue to grow their research capabilities and produce their best work.
  • Represent the User Research team internally and externally, and support the team in their outward communication -- from professional spheres (conferences, publications) to general audiences (blogging).

Ideal Experience:

  • 8-10 years’ experience in User / Design Research Experience leading global research teams that influence not only product decisions but company strategy as well
  • You have an advanced degree, or equivalent experience, in design, human computer interaction, cognitive science, experimental psychology, anthropology, information science, or a related field.
  • Strong systems thinking; ability to understand complex feature and marketplace dynamics
  • Demonstrated ability to partner with cross-disciplinary partners like Data Science, Product, Tech and Market Insights to build holistic insight and drive impact.
  • Experience informing everything from new products and new categories, to iterative product improvements
  • Devotion to quality craft and a master in research (qual and quant) methods and tools including, but not limited to, usability testing, cognitive walkthroughs, 1:1 user interviews, remote testing, contextual inquiry, field studies, surveys, eye-tracking, and multivariate analysis.
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, dynamic environment and a communicator with the ability to inspire, build alignment and drive action
  • You care about users and their experiences on a deep level, and strive to make connections with them.
  • You enthusiastically stay up-to-date on research techniques, emerging research tools, and academic literature.

 

CRITICAL LEADERSHIP CAPABILITIES:

Leading Change

  • Publicly identifies needed changes or directions that need adjustment, challenges assumptions and norms.
  • The ability to “think big” and simultaneously understand and appreciate the details necessary to operationalize overarching strategies and goals; The ability to make sense of complex issues and ambiguous situations.
  • Ability to balance long-term and short-term goals of the business.
  • Challenges assumptions about “the way things are done”.
  • Communicates explicitly what must change, why changes are necessary, and possible outcomes and costs.
  • Adjusts communication style to the audience to help them understand and accept the change.
  • Encourages people to support and propose changes and ideas.

Building relationships, Collaborating and Influencing

  • Establishes relationships and enhances the levels of cooperation, collaboration, and trust that exist between people, interacting with others personally, competently, and effectively. Establishes relationships inside and outside of the organization. Fosters a culture that makes people feel valued and respected and leverages even difficult or tense circumstances to enhance relationships.
  • Negotiates with a genuine give-and-take approach, where both acts as true peers and decisions are shared.
  • Spends time identifying all stakeholders necessary and meets or connects with all of them, neglecting no one to shape a collective consensus.
  • Identifies opportunities to build relationships that will help others achieve their objectives and reaches out to those people or new people.

Driving Results

  • Responds resourcefully, flexibly, and positively when faced with new challenges and demands. Willingly and effectively deals with the stress and complexities of various situations. Moves forward productively under conditions of change or uncertainty
  • Demonstrates and fosters a sense of urgency, a “can-do” spirit, a sense of optimism, ownership, and strong commitment to achieving goals and organizational success. Demonstrates a strong sense of ownership and a commitment to achieving meaningful results.
  • Checks work of self and others against required quality standards and takes remedial action, when needed, to improve standards.
  • Reviews performance and progress on a regular basis to ensure the team is achieving results.
  • Tests to see if goals are sufficiently challenging and implements corrective action based on deviations.

OTHER PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS

  • Able to function in a fast-moving entrepreneurial environment
  • Humble yet confident, with high self-awareness
  • A strategic thinker yet focused on execution; able to roll up the sleeves to get things done
  • Self-starter with high energy and drive; fast-paced and results-driven; forward-thinking
  • Experimental, ready to learn and open to change
  • Keep the customer at the centre of everything you do
  • Data-driven
  • Good cultural and organizational sensitivity
  • Committed to building a diverse, inclusive work environment

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