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CEO pay versus performance: See the highest-paid travel bosses and how they scored on total returns for their shareholders.

Glenn Fogel, the CEO of both Booking Holdings and its flagship brand,, was the highest-paid travel CEO among the bosses of S&P 500 companies in 2023, with a total package of $46.7 million.

That’s according to a recent analysis by The Wall Street Journal, which ranked CEOs according to their 2023 cash compensation and the value of equity awards.

Although the highest-paid travel CEO, Fogel was 10th overall among S&P 500 companies. The top three were Broadcom’s Hock Tan ($161.8 million), Palo Alto Networks’ Nikesh Aurora ($151.4 million), and Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman ($119.8 million).

You can debate whether any executives are worth these mega packages, but it would be difficult to challenge the results that Fogel and three of his travel peers achieved.

The Wall Street Journal scored each company’s total shareholder return versus its industry on a scale of 1 to 5 – a 5 means it was in the top 20%. Four travel companies got the top score: Booking Holdings, Delta Air Lines, Host Hotels, and Royal Caribbean.

Here’s how those companies paid their CEOs:

  • Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel: $46.7 million (#1 in travel)
  • Delta CEO Ed Bastian: $34.2 million (#2)
  • Host Hotels CEO James Risoleo: $17.7 million (#9)
  • Royal Caribbean’s Jason Liberty: $17.2 million (#10)

The Wall Street Journal also ranked compensation against their respective industries. In addition to scoring 5s for shareholder return, Fogel, Bastian and Risoleo also got 5s for compensation, which meant they were among the highest paid in their respective industries.

Risoleo, however, received only a 3 for his compensation package. That means he was paid only in the top 60% of his peers.

S&P 500’s 10 Highest Paid Travel CEO’s in 2023

  CEO Company Total Pay Cash Pay % Change Pay Vs Industry Return Vs Industry
1 Glenn Fogel Booking Holdings $46.72M $5.75M 51.80% 5 5
2 Ed Bastian Delta Air Lines $34.21M $16.84M 256% 5 5
3 Robert Isom American Airlines $31.44M $11.83M 543% 5 3
4 Chris Nassetta Hilton $25.56M $4.08M 12.80% 5 3
5 Dara Khosrowshahi Uber $24.25M $4.17M -0.10% 4 4
6 Anthony Capuano Marriott $22.66M $7.0M 21.30% 5 4
7 Thomas Reeg Caesar’s Entertainment $18.61M $6.11M -40.60% 3 2
8 Scott Kirby United Airlines $18.57M $7.71M 89.60% 4 3
9 James Risoleo Host Hotels $17.69M $4.56M 22.20% 5 5
10 Jason Liberty Royal Caribbean $17.22M $5.53M 59.90% 3 5

Source: The Wall Street Journal/Skift

CEO Pay at American Airlines and Hilton

On the other hand, both Robert Isom ($31.4 million) at American Airlines and Chris Nassetta at Hilton saw pay packages in the top 20% of the airline and hotel industry, respectively, but the total shareholder return for their companies were only in the top 60% of their industries.

Airbnb is in the S&P 500, but CEO Brian Chesky’s $300,000 total compensation last year placed him at 413th in the S&P 500. However, as Skift recently reported, Chesky’s 10-year “$120 million” pay package, announced in 2021, could well turn into considerably more than $1 billion if Airbnb reaches certain hard-to-reach stock price targets.

In 2023, according to The Wall Street Journal, Airbnb’s total shareholder return scored a 4, which placed it in the top 80% within its sector.

Among major U.S. based online travel companies, neither Expedia nor Tripadvisor are in the S&P 500. Now-former CEO Peter Kern of Expedia Group saw a total compensation package of $1.1 million last year. Tripadvisor CEO Matt Goldberg’s total package was $1.9 million.

For this story, we only considered pure-play travel companies. So we didn’t include the CEO pay at banks American Express and JPMorgan Chase, for example both of which have travel businesses.

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Tags: airbnb, american airlines, booking holdings,, caesars entertainment, ceo pay, delta, dwell, expedia, hilton, host hotels, marriott, online travel newsletter, royal caribbean, tripadvisor, uber, united

Photo credit: Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking Holdings is pictured here speaking at Skift Global Forum in September 2022 in New York. Neil van Niekerk / Skift

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