Booking reaches pandemic-recovery 'milestone,' but CEO says 'the recovery is not fully done yet'

Booking reaches pandemic-recovery ‘milestone,’ but CEO says ‘the recovery is not fully done yet’

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Booking Holdings Inc. on Wednesday reported second-quarter financial results that beat analysts’ expectations for net income, room nights booked and gross bookings, though its revenue was shy of estimates.


shares climbed higher by about 5% after hours immediately after the results were released, then fell to a 3% decline after executives shared on the conference call that they saw some weakening of growth early in the current quarter.

“We reached another milestone in our company’s recovery from the impact of the pandemic, with room nights for the second quarter surpassing 2019 levels for the first time,” Chief Executive Glenn Fogel said in a statement. On the earnings call with analysts, though, Fogel said the company saw a slowdown in the pace of growth in room nights and gross bookings in July compared with June.

“We know that the recovery is not fully done yet,” Fogel said on the call. He mentioned that in some parts of the world, such as Asia, coronavirus pandemic-related travel restrictions remain. “And we know we hear about people saying how hard it’s been in some airports,” he added.

The travel-booking company, whose brands include Priceline, Kayak and, said gross travel bookings for the second quarter were $34.5 billion, up 57% from the year-ago period, and beating analysts’ expectation of $32.96 billion in gross bookings. Room nights booked were 246 million, exceeding analysts’ expectation of 234 million.

Booking reported second-quarter net income of $857 million, or $21.15 a share, compared with a loss of $167 million, or $4.08 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for investment and other costs, earnings were $19.08 a share. Revenue rose to $4.29 billion from $2.16 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of $18.19 a share on revenue of $4.33 billion.

Booking saw similar travel trends by region as Airbnb Inc.
its competitor in the alternative-accommodation market, which reported its results Tuesday. Booking said room nights booked rose the most in the United States and Europe, 30% and 20% respectively, and in the midteens in the rest of the world. Asia was down in the high single digits, Chief Financial Officer David Goulden said on the earnings call.

Also see: Airbnb stock falls sharply despite earnings beat, plan to repurchase $2 billion in stock

Booking offers listings of both hotels and alternative accommodations. Fogel said on the call that Booking now has 6.6 million alternative-accommodation listings after seeing the largest increase in that category in the second quarter. Airbnb said on its earnings call on Tuesday that it has more than 6 million listings.

Fogel said in the company’s news release that he expects “record Q3 revenue.” Goulden said on the earnings call only that he expects third-quarter adjusted Ebitda to be slightly above that from the third quarter of 2019.

Analysts are forecasting third-quarter earnings of $53.81 a share on revenue of $6.34 billion.

Shares of Booking have declined 18% year to date, while the S&P 500 index

has fallen nearly 13% so far this year. In the regular session Wednesday, they rose 0.5% to close at $1,966.48. 

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