Booking Holdings’ room nights show stabilisation after steep April decline

Booking Holdings reported its Q1 results late last week, and though newly booked room nights were down 85 per cent year-on-year in April, the last few days of the month showed improvement.

Cancellations peaked in mid-March, and outpaced the number of new bookings in the month of April. Cleveland Research Company however points to net positive bookings in the last several weeks.

Greater China, South Korea, Vietnam, and Germany were highlighted as showing double-digit improvement in declines during April, driven by domestic (within country) travel.

The recent increase in booking volume was for stays “within a couple days” and stays for over two months. Booking Holdings noted this combination is two times the normal amount, and has resulted in an expansion of the booking window.

Alternative accommodations sounded to be outperforming the hotel segment in April, driven by domestic and longer term bookings. In April, domestic mix of business increased to 70 per cent overall compared to 45 per cent in 2019, and 75 per cent in Western Europe compared to 55 per cent last year.

Booking Holdings ended Q1 with $6.3 billion in cash, $0.8 billion in short-term investments, and $2 billion in long term investments. Its total cash and investment balance is $14.3 billion, $12 of which is highly liquid.

The company’s strong financial position and continuation of investment in key projects position it well for potential 2021 recovery according to Cleveland Research. 

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