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As changes in Google’s algorithm created financial challenges among online travel businesses in the third quarter, Booking Holdings bucked the trend and reports growth.

Gross bookings increased 4% year-over-year to $25.3 billion, while net income soared 10% to $2 billion.

Adjusted EBITDA increased 5% to $2.5 billion in the third quarter.

In a call to discuss earnings, CEO and president Glenn Fogel says issues around performance in search engine optimization did not impact the company’s financial results.

“We saw some headwinds in the SEO channel that did create some modest pressure, but it’s a small channel for us,” says Fogel.

The Connecticut, U.S.-based travel giant reports an 11% year-over-year increase in room nights to 223 million – or nearly a quarter of a billion room nights booked. 

“We are pleased that room night growth has been reasonably consistent this year,” says Fogel.

Total revenue rose 4% year-over-year to $5.04 billion, nearly missing analyst expectations of $5.07 billion.

Merchant revenues increased from $1.05 billion in the third quarter last year to $1.31 billion this year, but agency revenues dipped year-over-year from $3.54 billion to $3.43 billion.

Fogel says that he is “pleased” with the financial results and remains “confident that the efforts we are making now will support the long-term growth prospects of the company.”

“We remain firmly in execution mode as we work to deliver against our goal of extending our lead in core accommodations market through key initiatives in customer acquisition, merchandising, our payments platform and improving the selection of properties on our websites.”

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Bigger platform

Fogel touted several recent developments, such as recently launching a flight offering in certain European countries and the expanded partnership with Grab that offers app users access to “the largest fleet of drivers across eight countries in Southeast Asia.”

“This is providing our customers traveling in these countries a frictionless experience, removing language and currency barriers.”

Grab service is currently available to app users in Singapore, with expansion coming to Indonesia and Thailand by the end of the year.

The integration with Grab is part of what Fogel calls the “long-term strategy of building the connected trip.”

The total alternative accommodation listings reached over 6.2 million in the third quarter, which reflects the company’s goal of growing that segment.

“We are encouraged with the progress of alternative combinations and continue to witness growth outpacing our overall business while maintaining solid profitability.”

Distribution at The Phocuswright Conference 2019

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Expedia, Kayak, Marriott, TripAdvisor, Wyndham, Sabre and CWT. Network with
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