Booking Holdings’ empire is one of the most valuable in the travel industry. We break down the six major brands that bring home the money.
Booking Holdings is one of the largest travel brands in the world, with business in hotels and other, accommodations, flights, holiday price comparison, car rental, travel extras, and restaurant bookings.
With a market cap of $91 billion in mid-March, Booking Holdings is one of the world’s leading online travel providers, generating a staggering $17.1 billion in revenue last year, as well as $3 billion in net income. The group’s gross travel bookings came in at $121.3 billion.
Originally founded as Priceline Inc. in 1998, a steady stream of canny acquisitions, constant expansion within the travel sector, and regular investment in technology has seen the group cement itself at the top of the travel tree.
Glenn D. Fogel, who took over as CEO in 2017, leads the company. He’s also CEO of the group’s flagship brand, Booking.com. During his tenure, Fogel has overseen a period of steady growth and steered the company to an impressive recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Active across 220 countries and territories, we take a look at the six major brands that make up the Booking Holdings empire.
Booking.com Take: “Booking.com seamlessly connects millions of travellers with memorable experiences, a range of transport options and incredible places to stay — from homes to hotels and much more.”
Skift Take: Available in 43 languages with more than 28 million total reported accommodation listings, Booking.com is based in Amsterdam and is the jewel in the Booking Holdings crown. While its accommodation offering is rock solid, Booking.com’s big goal is to offer users more options within the app. Airline ticket bookings continues to be a major area of interest, with more tech investment expected this year. On the topic of technology, Chief Technology Officer Rob Francis recently said that the brand was looking into the use of generative AI, without giving too much detail away — watch this space.
Priceline Take: “Priceline provides travelers smart and easy ways to save on hotel rooms, airline tickets, rental cars, vacation packages and cruises.”
Skift Take: Fresh off the launch of its new ad campaign during the Super Bowl pre-game, Connecticut-based Priceline looks set for a big year on the marketing front. The “Get Your Happy Price” campaign stars Kaley Cuoco and is likely to push the brand further into the mainstream. On the business side of things, the brand looks set to continue its push into fresh territory, following other big travel brands into the experiences market.
Agoda Take: “Agoda offers a global network of over 2.5 million properties in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, offering travellers easy access to a wide choice of luxury and budget hotels, apartments, homes and villas, to suit all budgets and travel occasions.”
Skift Take: With Asia only just getting back on its feet after the Covid-19 pandemic, 2023 could be a huge year for Singapore-based Agoda. To help things run smoothly, the brand has recently partnered with fintech company Sunrate to streamline its payment process. Meanwhile, growth in the India market and further investments in the brand’s tech continue to be major goals for CEO Omri Morgenshtern.
Rentalcars.com Take: “Rentalcars.com offers the best prices from more car rental suppliers in more locations than anyone else. Car hire is available in over 155 countries, across 48,000+ locations.”
Skift Take: The car hire industry took an extraordinary hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, with many providers choosing to sell off their fleets rather than letting the cars sit idle. With demand rising again, the shortage in stock has sent prices soaring in popular markets. Finding the best price has never been more important, a factor that comparison sites, such as Rentalcars.com, are only likely to benefit from in the short term.
Latest Booking Holdings News
Kayak Take: “Kayak is the world’s leading travel search engine. With billions of queries across their platforms, Kayak helps people find their perfect flight, stay, rental car, cruise, or vacation package.”
Skift Take: Founded in 2004, Kayak claims to be the original “metasearch site for travel.” It wasn’t the first and Google’s metasearch product is undoubtably bigger. However, Kayak’s tech was certainly ahead of its time, leading Booking Holdings to purchase the business for $2 billion after Kayak went public back in 2013. Since the takeover, Kayak has established a portfolio of other metasearch travel brands, including SWOODOO, checkfelix, momondo, Cheapflights, HotelsCombined, and Mundi.
OpenTable Take: “OpenTable, a global leader in restaurant tech, connects more than 1.5 billion people with restaurants every year. Powering hospitality at more than 55,000 restaurants, bars, wineries and other venues globally.”
Skift Take: The last of the main brands to be acquired by Booking Holdings, OpenTable is the household name in the hospitality reservation game in the U.S. and perhaps some other geographies. The platform seats over one billion diners every year, with its users leaving more than one million reviews every month, the brand says. Healthy competition from American Express’ Resy can only be a good thing for a sector that already includes The Fork (owned by TripAdvisor), Yelp, and Tock.
Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel at Skift Global Forum 2022
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Photo credit: Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking Holdings, pictured here speaking at Skift Global Forum in September 2022 in New York, is keen on more tech investment. Neil van Niekerk / Skift