Booking Holdings was in hiring mode in 2022, particularly in Asia Pacific. That should be nice timing given the China reopening.
What percentage of tech employees at Booking Holdings are women? How has the company’s total return compared over the last five years to its internet peers? Booking detailed information about these issues and others in a half dozen charts in its recent annual financial disclosure.
Three Online Travel Agencies That Do A Lot of the Same Things
Booking Holdings’ six major brands offer the following key services:
The three online travel agency brands, Booking.com in Amsterdam, Priceline in the U.S., and Agoda in Singapore, offer essentially the same main services — accommodations, ground transportation, flights and activities.
There are at least three important points about the chart. As a rule, none of the three offer dining reservations even though Booking acquired restaurant reservations platform OpenTable in 2014. At the time of the deal announcement, a lot of the talk was about the synergies between travel and dining, and how the acquisition would unleash ample opportunities to cross-promote the various brands.
That never worked out, as current Booking officials would readily acknowledge.
A couple of other interesting points is that Kayak’s key service is metasearch even though it dabbled over the years in offering facilitated flight bookings, and that none of the other five brands offer metasearch. Pundits, like myself, speculated over the years that the distinction between online travel agencies and metasearch companies would eventually blur because online travel agencies were beginning to offer metasearch features, and metasearch companies were starting to become booking sites.
None of that blending happened in a significant way, although Booking, Expedia Group, and Trip.com Group now all own metasearch sites, namely Kayak, Trivago, and Skyscanner, respectively.
Booking Is Adding to Its Employee Ranks in Asia Pacific
Employees by Geography (as of December 31, 2022)
After trimming its workforce in previous years, Booking ended up increasing its employee roster 6.4 percent year over year to 21,600 workers by the end of 2022. The biggest increase came in Asia Pacific, where it added 1,000 employees, and boosted that region’s share of total employees two percentage points to 34 percent of its labor force.
Interestingly, Booking shed 300 workers in the U.S. in 2022, even though it has been making market share gains in the country.
Another point worth noting: Even though Booking competes in South America and Africa, only 2 percent of its workforce lives outside Europe, Asia Pacific and North America, and its number of employees, 400, in what it describes as the rest of the world, remained steady in 2022 compared with 2021.
Booking Increased Is Percentage of Women Tech Workers in 2022
Gender Diversity of Employees (as of December 31, 2022)
In 2022, Booking Holdings’ workforce saw its ranks of women fall three percentage points year over year to 47 percent, although its roster of women in technology positions rose two percentage points to 25 percent. Over at Airbnb, in 2022 49 percent of its workforce was women.
As in 2021, Booking Holdings filled 31 percent of its leadership ranks with women.
Total Return Outpaced Expedia and Airbnb But Lagged Nasdaq and S&P 500
If you invested $100 in Booking Holdings’ shares at the end of 2017, you’d have a total return, including the reinvestment of dividends, of $115.97 at the end of 2022. In that regard, the 5-year total return for Booking Holdings outpaced the likes of other Internet companies in the RDG Internet Composite ($103.35), but fell considerably behind the Nasdaq Composite Index ($158.65) and the S&P 500 ($156.89).
If you had invested $100 in Expedia Group at the end of 2017, the total return would have been considerably lower that your initial investment five years later. You would also be in negative territory by the end of 2022 if you’d purchased $100 in Airbnb shares when it started trading on December 10, 2020.
Expedia has essentially been in rebuilding mode since 2020, and Airbnb is not a mature company like nearly three-decade-old Booking Holdings, it should be noted.
Booking Holdings Saw Room Nights Cross the 2019 Threshold in 2022
Quarterly Room Nights
… and Change Versus 2019
Booking Holdings saw the number of room nights it generated enter into positive territory on an annual basis compared with pre-Covid 2019 for the first time in 2022. The company’s room nights rose 6 percent to 896 million in 2022 compared with 2019.
Booking ceased offering travel in Russia and Belarus in March 2022, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the company pointed out that its room night growth in 2022 versus 2019 would have been 10 percent if you exclude room nights from travelers in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine in both years.
Booking’s room night jump was 51 percent year over year in 2022. In contrast, Expedia Group’s booked room nights increased 26 percent in 2022 versus 2021.
Photo credit: Actress Melissa McCarthy in a Booking.com ad that was broadcast during the Super Bowl in 2023. The company saw its percentage of women in tech jobs rise in 2022. Booking.com