Despite the deep job cuts, the proprietary Skift Health Score calculates that Booking Holdings has far greater long-term strength than rivals Expedia Group and Trip.com Group. If you follow Booking.com's logic, the future of travel will be substantially smaller than its past.
Later than any of its peers, Booking.com announced Tuesday it will be restructuring, and eliminating up to 25 percent of its global employee base, a number Skift estimated to be roughly 4,300 employees.
Glenn Fogel, the CEO of both parent company Booking Holdings and Booking.com, is expected to tell Booking.com employees that Covid-19 hit Booking.com hard.
“In my heart, for a long time, I hoped this would not happen,” Fogel’s statement to employees read. “Since the beginning, we have been working hard to protect jobs. However, nothing can mitigate the impact this crisis has had and will continue to have on both the travel industry and our business.”
The company said it expected the downsizing “will match our expectation of the future of travel.”
Amsterdam-headquartered Booking.com, by far the largest brand in the Bookings Holdings portfolio, had around 17,500 employees in more than 200 offices around the world, according to its careers website. Booking.com, which has a presence in more than 65 countries, was reluctant to detail precisely how many employees would lose their jobs because that figure is subject in part to talks with its works council in the Netherlands, and wide-ranging laws in jurisdictions around the world.
[Update: In a financial filing Tuesday, Booking Holdings stated “the company expects to finalize its plans and make relevant announcements to employees on a country by country basis, with the first countries starting in September 2020, and expects to complete all such announcements by the end of 2020.” Booking Holdings stated that because of the consultation process required in certain countries it couldn’t yet estimate related costs.]
Parent company Booking Holdings, headquartered in Connecticut in the United States, had 26,400 employees at the end of 2019. But its Kayak and OpenTable brands furloughed or laid off around 400 employees in April, and sister company Agoda in Singapore parted ways with around 1,500 employees in May.
Competitors executed job cuts months ago. Expedia Group axed 12 percent of its workforce, nearly 2,900 workers, pre-pandemic in February, Tripadvisor trimmed a quarter of its staff, more than 900 employees in April, and Airbnb likewise cut 25 percent of its staff, some 1,900 workers, in May.
Booking.com is heavily dependent on its lodging business, which has been crushed, like those of competitors, during the coronavirus crisis.
Booking.com accepted one round of governmental relief funds in the Netherlands several months ago as it tried to determine its long-term plans and to forestall the job pain, but did not take a subsequent round because the company realized employee cuts would be necessarily given the impact to its business. The company reports second quarter earnings on Thursday.
Booking Holdings did not issue a press release about the restructuring, but issued a financial statement Tuesday.
The company didn’t issue any information about its restructuring strategy, and which parts of Booking.com were most severely impacted.
Note: This story has been updated to reflect the financial filing Booking Holdings issue Tuesday.
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Photo credit: The Booking.com presence at Web Summit 2019 on November 05, 2019. Booking.com announced deep job cuts on August 4, 2020. Paolo Moura Photography / Flickr.com