Skift Take

The job cuts at Kayak and OpenTable represent the first reported layoffs and furloughs at parent company Booking Holdings growing out of the coronavirus crisis other than for 48 contractors at Booking.com whose agreements weren't renewed. Few travel companies will emerge unscathed so it wouldn't be surprising if more cuts were coming at other Booking brands.

Citing a tremendous drop in revenue from the coronavirus pandemic, Kayak and OpenTable laid off, furloughed or handed out reduced hours to 400 employees, Skift has learned.

Steve Hafner, the CEO of both of these Booking Holdings brands, informed employees of the job cuts in an email Wednesday that Skift obtained. [See the email embedded below.]

“We did everything we could to avoid these steps,” Hafner wrote. “But our revenue has dropped tremendously from the COVID-19 crisis. And despite our hopes for a quick recovery, most experts now predict a prolonged downturn. It’s time to adjust our team accordingly — like so many others in the travel and dining industry.”

Of the 400 employees impacted, 160 are being laid off, and and 240 are subject to furloughs or reduced work hours. These impacted jobs represent around 1.5 percent of Booking Holdings global workforce, and roughly 20-25 percent of the Kayak-OpenTable roster.

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Other than 48 contractors whose agreements weren’t renewed at Booking.com in Amsterdam, these are the first reported Booking Holdings job cuts growing out of the coronavirus outbreak.

Hafner wrote the company considered several approaches to cost-cutting but ultimately decided to trim office and personnel expenses 20 percent.

The Kayak co-founder said his direct reports are taking 15 percent salary reductions for the rest of the year, and he already waived his own.

“To our team members being impacted today, I’m very grateful for the ideas and energy that you brought to OpenTable and KAYAK,” Hafner wrote. “I’m also incredibly sad about the hardship that this news may present for you and your families. Staffing changes are always demoralizing, especially when caused by factors outside of our control. These were not easy decisions and we’ll do our best to help you. The future will get brighter.”

Skift Senior Travel Tech Editor Sean O’Neill contributed to this report.

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Tags: booking holdings, booking.com, coronavirus, furloughs, kayak, layoffs, opentable

Photo credit: This file photo shows Kayak and OpenTable CEO Steve Hafner with team members. Hafner informed employees of layoffs and furloughs April 29, 2020 growing out of the coronavirus pandemic. Jesse Neider / Kayak

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