In another indication of the havoc Covid-19 is wreaking on the travel industry, online travel company Booking.com said Tuesday it will reduce its global workforce by up to about 25%, the latest signal that all segments of the industry, from airlines to accommodations, are suffering as consumers remain home-bound.
Booking.com, which specializes in helping consumers book stays in individual homes and apartments, said in a regulatory filing it is still working to “develop more clarity on the timing, the number of affected employees, financial impact and other aspects of the contemplated cost reduction actions,” but added that it “expects to finalize its plans and make relevant announcements to employees, on a country by country basis,” beginning in September, and expects to make all announcement by the end of this year.
The cuts would amount to roughly 4,000 employees, according to CNN, but Booking.com gave no specifics on worker counts or the dollar amount it expects to save as it joins other travel companies, including airlines such as United and Southwest, in declaring their intention to shrink headcount in order to conserve cash.
Booking.com, part of Booking Holdings Inc. of Norwalk, Connecticut, and a corporate cousin to Priceline.com, boasts 29.7 million listings, including homes and apartments, in 225 countries and territories.
The parent company is expected to release its second quarter financial results after the market closes on Thursday, but traders Tuesday were taking the job cuts news in stride — in early trading, Booking Holdings’ stock was up 1% to about $1,667 a share, down 20% from the 2020 high of $2,084 a share hit in January, but up from the March trough of $1,174 a share when government lockdowns pulled the rug from under the industry.
The travel industry is making a strong push for assistance in the next federal stimulus package, with Tori Emerson Barnes, the executive vice president of the U.S. Travel Association, declaring that the industry already has lost fully “half its jobs already and [is] on track for a drop of more than a half-trillion dollars in traveler spending by year’s end.”