European travel boosts Booking Holdings’ third-quarter revenue growth

BOOKING Holdings reports that room nights booked in the third quarter of 2021 increased for the third consecutive quarter to 183 million, and revenue increased to $4.7 billion, slightly less than third quarter 2019 revenue of $5 billion.

Third quarter overnight stays were up from 157 million in the second quarter of this year, up nearly 44% from the same period last year and – perhaps most remarkably – approaching Q3 2019 pre-pandemic levels of 223 million.

Total revenue more than doubled from the previous quarter, when it was $2.2 billion, and jumped 77% from the third quarter of 2020.

“We are delighted to report another quarter of sequential improvement in overnight trends, primarily driven by better results in Europe. Our season-highest third quarter revenue was $4.7 billion, more than double the amount of revenue we recorded in the second quarter of 2021,” said Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking Holdings. .

“We are encouraged by the signs of recovery we saw in many parts of the world in the third quarter, and our teams are working hard to continue to strengthen our business position and execute on our strategic priorities.”

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Fogel says international travel, particularly to Europe, drove the overall improvement in overnight stay trends from the second to third quarters, but cross-border travel is still limited in many regions in the quarter, international overnight stay figures are still “significantly depressed” compared to 2019, down 50% comparing the same quarters.

Of all nights booked, approximately 30% were alternative accommodations, a slight increase from Q3 2019. However, Fogel says the company saw a sequential improvement in demand for hotel nights in Europe from Q2 to 2019. third trimester. Of the 28 million accommodation listings on Booking.com, around 2.4 million are for alternative accommodations, relatively unchanged from the second quarter.

Gross travel bookings – the total dollar value, including taxes and fees, of all travel services booked, net of cancellations – amounted to $23.7 billion, a 77% increase over the comparative quarter of the previous year, but still down 6% compared to the third quarter of 2019.

Adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter of 2021 was $2.1 billion, 111% year-over-year and only 15% lower than the third quarter of 2019, making it the strongest quarter profitable since the third quarter of 2019.

Booking Holdings’ marketing spend nearly doubled in the third quarter of this year from a year earlier, from $731 million to $1.38 billion. Compared to Q3 2019, this is an increase of 3%.

Fogel says the company saw a higher percentage of customers booking direct than in the third quarter of 2019, even as the company “leaned into performance marketing channels” during the period. About two-thirds of nights were booked on mobile devices, and the majority of them were made through the app, which surpassed 100 million monthly active users during the quarter.

In addition to focusing on improving the user experience on the app, which Fogel calls “the center of our connected travel experience,” he says the company will continue to work to increase consumer awareness through advertising on social networks.

“We have made progress in strengthening our foundations for digital marketing, including in social channels, although our spending has been low so far. However, we are increasingly confident in the potential of these channels, and as we see positive results, we plan to increase our level of participation in them.

The company’s total airfares in the third quarter were up 131% from the same quarter in 2019. Fogel says the growth is mainly driven by the strength of Priceline, owned by Booking Holdings, but he says that She has also been helped by the growing flight offer from Booking.com, which is now live in 27 countries.

“We continue to develop a robust flight platform,” he says.

“We find that over 25% of people who book flights on Bookings are new customers. With these new customers, we are seeing an encouraging attachment rate for accommodation reservations. However, there is still work to be done to further optimize cross-selling opportunities.

“It’s part of the overall vision to be able to attract new customers from different verticals, in different ways than we’ve done in the past, which is mostly paid performance marketing…and to be able to provide them with a lot more valuable .”

Fogel also took note of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, currently taking place in Scotland, saying he “cannot overstate the importance for our industry of coming together to work towards the objective of carbon neutrality by 2050″. Fogel says Booking Holdings is working to make it easier for consumers to find sustainable lodging options, working with supplier partners to help them improve sustainability at the property level, and the company will release its own “plan climate transition” at the beginning of 2022.

• This article first appeared in PhocusWire.

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