Booking Holdings Inc. reported a decline of more than 85% in room nights booked in April from a year earlier, a staggering drop that reflects the extent of economic devastation the coronavirus is wreaking on the travel industry.
Chief Executive Officer Glenn Fogel also said that newly booked room nights, excluding cancellations, fell 60% year-over-year in March. “This gives you a clear indication of how much our business is currently impacted by this crisis,” he said during a conference call.
Booking is the first of the online travel giants to report earnings this year and its results will be held up as benchmark for its smaller rivals trying to weather the crisis.
The company said the number of room night reservations dropped 43% from a year earlier in the first quarter, while Wall Street had estimated a decline of 29%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Gross travel bookings, which reflect all travel services booked by customers, came in at $12.4 billion, a 51% decrease, Norwalk, Connecticut-based Booking said Thursday in a statement. Revenue fell 19% to $2.29 billion in the period, beating the $2.15 billion projected by analysts.
The pandemic has kept much of the world at home the past two months, gutting the travel industry and sparking what is likely to be the worst economic slowdown in decades. Airbnb Inc. and TripAdvisor Inc. have cut a quarter of their workforces, EXPE:US” title=”Company Overview” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Expedia Group Inc.’s credit rating has been downgraded and Booking has applied for government aid.