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Booking Holdings (BKNG) Bolsters Efforts With Freedom Sale

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Booking Holdings Inc. (BKNG - Free Report) is making every effort to strengthen its business after facing strong disruptions in the global travel industry caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

This is evident from the latest launch of ‘Freedom Sale’ or ‘Fourth of July’ sale by one of its brands, Priceline.

The company is offering strong saving opportunities to Americans by providing huge discounts on flights, hotels and rental cars. Travelers will get access to exciting deals on city trips, carrentals, off-airport locations, and bundle bookings— including hotels, flights and car rentals. Moreover, they will have the freedom to enjoy discounts on even last-minute vacation plans.

Additionally, Priceline is offering unique codes to its email subscribers, app users and members of its VIP Loyalty program, which will ensure deep discounts for travelers.

We believe that the latest move is expected to boost the rise in bookings of the company, which remains its key growth metric. Hence, the move remains crucial and a major positive amid the pandemic. This, in turn, is expected to instill investor optimism in the stock.

Coming to the price performance, Booking Holdings has returned 1% on a year-to-date basis against the industry’s decline of 14.8%.


Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research


Improving Travel Scenario

After a year-long persistence of coronavirus-induced sluggishness in the travel industry, travel demand is now showing an increasing trend as the strict lockdown restrictions and shelter-in-place guidelines are being lifted in many countries.

This is primarily attributed to the ongoing vaccination drive,which is progressing well across the world,especially in the United States, which is boosting the confidence of travelers.

Per a survey conducted by Expedia’s (EXPE - Free Report) Vrbo on more than 8,000 Americans, 65% of them are planning to travel more in 2021 than they did in the pre-pandemic era.

Further, data from a recent TripAdvisor (TRIP - Free Report) report shows that countries like the United States and the U.K.,where vaccination is taking place at a much faster pace compared to the other countries, are well-poised to witness solid travel demand growth in the near term.

Also, the report indicates that 51% of the U.S. respondents are willing to go for a summer vacation in their home country, whereas 22% of respondents are planning for an abroad trip this summer.

According to Bloomberg, the resurgence in the travel demand in the United States is expected to bolster Jet fuel usage, which is anticipated to grow 30%.

A Statista report indicates that the online travel booking market is expected to reach $983.2 billion by 2027 from $517.8 billion in 2020.

Additionally, a ResearchandMarkets report indicates that the global mobile travel booking market is anticipated to witness a CAGR of 12.2% between 2021 and 2029.

In this improving scenario, the Freedom Sale will help Booking Holdings to make the most out of the rebound in the travel demand as well as the summer travel season.

Currently, Booking Holdings carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Intensifying Competition

Given theupbeat scenario, not only Booking Holdings but also its peers —including Expedia, TripAdvisor and Airbnb (ABNB - Free Report) — are well-positioned to capitalize on the improving travel demand.

Increasing cancellation of bookings is benefiting Expedia. Further, improving the performance of Vrbo and growing bookings via it is a major positive.

Airbnb is also highly focused on delivering an enhanced end-to-end experience to the hosts and guests on the back of its strong core services. Also, the company is recruiting more hosts, which remains a positive.

Meanwhile, TripAdvisor’s launch of its annual subscription plan called Tripadvisor Plus remains noteworthy. Tripadvisor Plus, which is currently available in the United States, offers great savingson tickets, tours and rental car bookings.

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