Booking Holdings Inc. (BKNG), formerly known as The Priceline Group (PCLN), is the world’s leading provider of online travel and related services, bringing together consumers and hospitality providers in over 200 different countries through six independently managed brands. Booking and its subsidiaries provide a digital marketplace which aggregates travel and hospitality providers, and distributes their offerings across a broad range of user friendly software services. Hotels, car rentals, and airline tickets can be compared and booked individually, or purchased as a part of a package, simplifying the often-tedious process of booking vacations. Increased transparency provided by these services allows consumers to easily compare a vast range of accommodations and book them at competitive prices.
Booking.com, Priceline.com, Kayak, Agoda, rentalcars.com, and Opentable are the six primary operational brands which use their global scale to share information across platforms to amplify their metasearch capabilities, ultimately to the benefit of the end user – you. Booking’s size, along with providing a large informational platform on which to provide smarter offerings, allows them to charge one of the industry’s lowest commission rates to hoteliers, thus providing value to vacation service providers as well.
As the world continues to digitize, we expect online travel bookings to continue to play an increasingly important role in vacation planning, particularly as the millennial generation comprises a larger portion of the working age population, and thus has more disposable income. Looking forward, Booking is increasingly focusing efforts on expanding its presence in Asia and Latin-America, two growing markets which make up an estimated 20% of total bookings. As these economies continue to grow and the middle class expands, vacationing is within reach now more than ever. Booking is also focused on expanding the marketplace by adding supply of available rooms, investing into infrastructure to support a larger organization, and growing the supply of alternative accommodation (available rooms/properties were up 53% in 2017) to stave off competition from Expedia, Trivago, and Airbnb.
Booking is run by one of the internet sector’s best and most experienced management teams. Strong leadership has allowed Booking to maintain consistent double-digit revenue and bookings growth while growing faster than competitors internationally. Booking only has a fraction of worldwide travel spend which should allow for meaningful room to grow market share, and for the company to continue to perform well in in the long term.