Booking Holdings eyes even more tech investment after mobile app success

Skift grip

CEO Glenn Fogel is focused on making Booking Holdings apps easier for consumers to use. Apparently he’s doing something right.

Justin Dawes

The post-pandemic consumer travel bug is still alive and well, resulting in the highest quarterly revenue amount ever for Booking Holdings.

And more of those bookings at the online travel giant are through Booking’s mobile apps than even before the pandemic, so the company plans to bolster its investment in this technology to capture as many future bookings as possible.

Executives shared some of their plans during an earnings call Wednesday night for Booking Holdings, which owns the brands Booking.com, Priceline, Agoda, Kayak and more.

Booking Holdings’ revenue last quarter was $6.1 billion, a 29% year-over-year increase, while net profit rose 117% to $1 $.7 billion.

“While the near-term macro environment continues to be uncertain, we are more confident than ever in the long-term growth of travel and the opportunities ahead for our business,” said Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking, during the call. .

Technology investment

There were 240 million room nights booked through booking apps in the third quarter of 2022 – 8% more than in 2019 – and 45% of these were made through the mobile app.

“The mobile app is an important platform because it gives us more opportunities to engage directly with travelers, and ultimately we see it as the center of our vision for connected travel,” Fogel said.

“Connected travel” is Booking’s goal to essentially sell a wider variety of packages to existing customers through its multiple products. Executives said they believed this was key to a continued recovery from the pandemic.

Ongoing technology investment includes strengthening its airline ticket reservation offering on Booking.com. This activity increased by 235% in the third quarter compared to 2019. More than 20% of all flight bookings are new Booking.com customers. The company also continues to work on integrating ground transportation options.

Fogel said transportation options aren’t where he wants them yet, but he’s optimistic.

“Our flight product is not yet what I would say is good as it should be,” he said. “We’re continuing to improve it, to make it better than in the past, providing consumers with the features that some of our competitors are providing to consumers that we don’t yet and want to provide. So there are still a lot of benefits to that.

The 4th trimester

Some analysts have expressed concern going forward about how a potential economic downturn could affect businesses, but Booking executives expect business to continue to perform better than in 2019.

“While there is still some near-term uncertainty, our comments for the quarter assume that growth in overnight stays for the fourth quarter will be around 10% higher than 2019, which is in line with levels of growth that we have seen over the last three months,” said David Goulden, chief financial officer of the reservation, during the call.

Despite generally higher booking prices, Booking has not seen customers book cheaper hotels or reduce the length of their trips, Fogel said. Still, as Booking seeks to ramp up its post-pandemic business, it said it sees value in keeping prices as low as possible.

“When we think about meeting our customers’ need for value, we think it’s very important to offer attractive prices on hosting,” Fogel said.

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