It’s still going strong for Booking.com, despite economic headwinds picking up in the second quarter that slowed the start to a full recovery, despite the release of strong travel demand.
Online travel agency (OTA) total second quarter revenue was $4.3 billion, a 99% increase from the previous quarter, showing the first quarter since the pandemic began to overtake 246 million room nights in 2019. In Q2 2019, bookings show a 16 percent increase.
During an earnings call with analysts on Wednesday (Aug. 3), Booking.com — whose portfolio includes KAYAK, OpenTable and Priceline — said it will focus on direct business in connected travel and internal payments, even if the sky is cloudy.
According to CEO Glenn Fogle, we recognize there is uncertainty in the macroeconomic environment and questions about the strength of consumer demand later this year and into next year. “And while it’s extremely difficult to accurately predict the economic situation in the near future,” Fogle said, encouraged by current trends.
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Looking at moves designed to take the largest OTA to the next level in the post-pandemic recovery, Fogel and Chief Financial Officer David Golden cited the company’s connected travel product and payments platform as strong areas in a tough economy.
Fogle accounted for 38% of total bookings through the payment platform in the second quarter, the highest since the platform launched its payment capabilities.
“We continue to grow payment acceptance by our property partners, with over 60% of total Q2 total bookings coming from paid properties,” said Fogle – meaning approximately two-thirds of bookings are being made at payment-enabled properties. Booking.com itself.
The company expects to break even on the payments platform this year and start seeing positive returns by 2023. Golden said Booking.com is exploring additional payment capabilities, including foreign currency options for customers paying in two currencies.
Fogle also said the company “launched an enhanced payment solution for professional asset managers in the US and made progress in increasing adoption by our partners.”
Fogel described the connected travel and payments efforts as “connected.” Pre-pandemic, the platform accounted for an average of 25 percent of total travel spending. “By addressing our customers’ critical needs for value, choice and convenience through a connected travel perspective, we deliver an enhanced experience and increase the likelihood that our customers will return directly to us,” he added.
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Q2 2022 saw the highest second-quarter volume ever for direct across the platforms, according to Fogel, “We aim to grow the direct mix through a number of initiatives, including strengthening the benefits of our Genius loyalty program. Building our connected travel vision to increase our engagement with our customers and drive more customers to download and use the mobile app.
More than 40% of room nights booked last year were booked using the Booking.com app, and the app is an important platform because it allows us more opportunities to connect directly with travelers, and ultimately see it as it is, he said. Our Connected Travel View Center.
The company’s Connected Travel initiative uses data, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to bring all travel bookings directly into the platform, “allowing our customers to do more without going to multiple websites or service providers.” Website description.