November 06, 2018

Booking.com makes major pivot toward merchant hotel bookings


Booking Holdings revealed that its merchant hotel revenue jumped 53.4 percent to nearly $1.05 billion in Q3 while its agency revenue grew less than one percent to $3.54 billion.

Nearly two years ago, when Booking Holdings appointed Glenn Fogel as its CEO, analysts would have never have expected the company to tilt toward brand marketing or make a big push toward the merchant hotel model.

That’s because Booking.com, the parent company’s biggest brand, grew up since its early days a decade-and-a-half ago on paid marketing through sites like Google, and scaled its business on the agency, or pay at the hotel, business model.

Part of this growth in Booking Holdings prepaid hotel model is taking place in Asia, where it operates its Agoda brand, which traditionally has traditionally used the merchant model, and the much-larger Booking.com, which has relied on the agency model.

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