In contrast to Expedia Group and TripAdvisor, which posted weak third quarters and saw their market caps sliced up, Booking Holdings reported $2 billion in net income, a 10 percent leap. Its room night growth, however, was a not-spectacular 11 percent — the same as Expedia’s — and revenue growth clocked merely 4 percent growth to $5 billion.
Contrast Booking Holdings third-quarter performance to its third quarter of 2015, for example, when room nights grew 22 percent and revenue climbed 9.4 percent. In the third quarter of 2013 and 2014, respectively, room night growth stood at 35.6 percent and 26.7 percent, respectively.
Is today’s competition in online travel, with Airbnb breaking through and Google asserting itself ever-more intensely, too rigorous to replicate the robust growth of a few years ago?
Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel has been touting “the connected trip” like an evangelist, and he argued in the company’s third-quarter earnings call that the resulting data trove, along with increased cooperation among his previously mostly siloed business units, might engender a “flywheel effect” that could enable Booking Holdings “to start cranking up again.”
Fogel said even the largest hotel chain doesn’t have full view of their customers like Booking Holdings does, in terms of the type of ground transportation, restaurant reservations, or attractions they want when traveling. “That’s the advantage that a full OTA (online travel agency) like us has,” Fogel said.
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