Skift Breaking News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Online Travel

Charts: Big 3 Online Travel Companies Finish the First Half at 52-Week Stock Price Lows

5 hours ago

Stubborn inflation and fears of recession pushed Airbnb, Booking Holdings, and Expedia Group toward marking 52-week stock price lows on Thursday, the last day of the second quarter, as seen in three charts below.

An Airbnb in Milan, Italy. Airbnb
Yahoo Finance
Yahoo Finance
Yahoo Finance

Airbnb, Expedia and Booking Holdings weren’t alone in their respective plunges, however. The Nasdaq Composite Index likewise was trading at a 52-week low.

These companies’ market caps were smallish compared with better times: Booking Holdings ($71.8 billion), Airbnb ($58 billion), and Expedia Group ($14.8 billion).

Many analysts had written off Booking Holdings as a fading also-ran after the blockbuster Airbnb IPO, but its market cap was considerably higher than Airbnb’s today, the end of the first half of the financial year.

Yahoo Finance

We reported Wednesday that traffic and bookings for the trio were soft in June as compared with June 2019, and this could be a sign of a less-robust summer travel season than what many had predicted.

SimilarWeb found that hotels and vacation rental sites took share from online travel agencies like Booking.com and Expedia.com in the first half of 2022.

Online Travel

T-Mobile Launches Travel Portal in Partnership With Priceline

2 weeks ago

T-Mobile is getting heavier into travel with the debut of a discount travel website in partnership with Priceline.

The U.S.-based telecom services provider also announced Thursday it is offering free Wi-Fi on certain Delta, American and Alaska airlines flights for T-Mobile customers, and will be expanding its free Wi-Fi services to 210 countries and destinations to customers signed up for certain plans.

In the background, a woman uses Wi-Fi on a Delta aircraft. Photo source: Delta.

T-Mobile Travel is powered by Booking Holdings’ Rocket Travel, and potentially also leverages Booking’s $1.2 billion acquisition of hotel wholesaler Getaroom.

“To meet T-Mobile’s needs, Priceline curated a totally custom and unique combination of travel technology, sales and support services and product, most notably leveraging the technology capabilities of Rocket Miles and Priceline inventory,” a Priceline spokesperson said.

T-Mobile Travel claims to offer exclusive hotel discounts of up to 40 percent, as well as flights and car rentals. Skift didn’t see any short-term rentals in the mix.

Regarding the discounts, Skift found a listing for a queen-bed room at the Shoreham Hotel in New York City in early July for three nights for $730 that was 34 percent lower than on Expedia.com. T-Mobile claimed it was a 37 percent discount.

In addition to the new travel website, Delta, American and Alaska Airlines starting June 21 will begin offering free Wi-Fi for T-Mobile customers on select flights, T-Mobile said. “United Airlines will follow,” T-Mobile stated in its announcement. “And T-Mobile will continue to work hard to keep customers covered on even more airlines over time.”

T-Mobile will also will add certain streaming services on some of these flights for free or at a discount, the company said.

T-Mobile customers who have selected its Magenta Max or Business Unlimited Ultimate Plan will get 5GB of high-speed Wi-Fi, where available, for no extra charge in more than 210 countries and destinations, the company said.

Online Travel

Are Uncool Things Like Hotels and Booking.com Making a Comeback at Airbnb’s Expense?

1 month ago

Just look at their market caps — Booking Holdings $92.05 billion and Airbnb a humbling $77.8 billion.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Booking’s share price has notched “single-digit gains” over the last six months, while “Airbnb’s shares have lost nearly a third of their value.”

Reporter Laura Forman attributes some of the discrepancy to the comeback and relative affordability of urban hotels versus soaring rates for short-term rentals.

Not to mention, we’d point out, seeming out-of-control cleaning fees with little rationale for the heft of the cost.

Airbnb’s average daily rates climbed 37 percent in the first quarter when measured against the first quarter of pre-pandemic 2019, according to the Wall Street Journal. Citing STR data, the story said average rates for urban hotels around the world in April haven’t yet inched back to pre-Covid levels, while the average price of a room night for hotels as a whole has risen less than 15 percent in April compared to the same period three years ago.

Of course, as the story notes, Airbnb has the brand advantage over Booking.com as Airbnb spent less than a quarter of its revenue on sales and marketing in the first quarter of 2022 while Booking shelled out more than half its revenue on sales, marketing and related expenses.

Still, there’s a reason that Booking.com spends so much on performance marketing on Google even as Airbnb has reduced the percentage of revenue it spends on marketing on Google and elsewhere since 2020. The reason Booking.com spends so much? It seemingly is working.

The Wall Street Journal cited Sensor Tower data tallying Booking.com’s app installs in April as being 13 percent higher than in January 2020 while Airbnb’s app downloads fell 12 percent in the same timeframe.

“Ironically, Booking has managed to reinvigorate interest in its namesake brand this year by promoting its tired image,” the Wall Street Journal said. “A Super Bowl commercial for Booking.com featured The Wire star Idris Elba mocking the brand as having ‘never been accused of being sexy, flash or lit,’ unless, he adds, ‘we’re talking literal.'”

We’re unsure how much weight to give to Booking’s Super Bowl ad — which seemed to underwhelm — in its app download number uplift.

The signs of life in Booking’s stock price compared with six months ago has a lot to do with the comeback of cities, the reopening of Europe, where Amsterdam-based Booking.com has most of its strength, and the relative affordability of hotels.

After all, while some people wrote off cities during the pandemic as being permanently scarred, Booking’s Glenn Fogel argued — as did Peter Kern of Expedia Group and Steve Kaufer of Tripadvisor — that urban hotels and cities would be back. It appears as though that’s starting to take shape.

Online Travel

Expedia CEO’s Total Compensation Pegged at $296 Million for 2021

2 months ago

Expedia Group Vice Chairman and CEO Peter Kern’s 2021 total compensation was $296 million.

That includes $157 million in stock awards and $137 million in option awards. His salary was around $850,000. The stock and option awards represent the fair value at the grant date, and won’t necessarily be the actual value when the awards vest.

Kern’s total compensation in 2021 compared with $53.9 million for Booking Holdings’ Glenn Fogel, $7.67 million for Tripadvisor’s Steve Kaufer, and $132,000 for Airbnb’s Brian Chesky.

Chesky had a nice pay day — on paper like Kern’s — for 2020, namely $120 million, and Kaufer’s total compensation announced in 2013 was $39 million.

Kern became Expedia Group CEO during the early days of the pandemic in April 2020. He has been vice chairman since 2018, and a board member since 2005.

When it comes to the ratio of the CEO’s salary to median employee compensation, excluding the CEO’s compensation, at each company, Expedia’s was 2,897 to 1; Booking’s was 931 to 1; Tripadvisor’s was 76 to 1; and Airbnb’s was .65 to 1.

The total compensation amounts were included in proxy statements last month.

Online Travel CEO Compensation 2021

CEOCompanyTotal CompensationRatio
Peter KernExpedia$296,000,0002,897 to 1
Glenn FogelBooking Holdings$53,900,000931 to 1
Stephen KauferTripadvisor$7,670,00076 to 1
Brian CheskyAirbnb$132,000.65 to 1

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