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Booking Holdings (BKNG) Looks to Expand Reach to Travelers

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Booking Holdings Inc. (BKNG - Free Report) has been making strong efforts to improve the business, which severely got hit last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This is evident from the recent introduction of a landing page, www.agoda.com/PhuketSandbox by one of its brands, Agoda.

The company will help travelers browse and book accommodation at Phuket that are SHA Plus certified by the Thai Government’s Safety & Health Administration.

Last month, the Thailand government introduced the Phuket Sandbox initiative for fully vaccinated international travelers in the country.

Via this initiative, fully vaccinated travelers can book SHA-certified properties in Phuket and explore by following social distancing norms, whereas non-vaccinated travelers can remain in quarantine for 14 days in a government-approved property.

Now, the latest move by Agoda will help travelers search an accommodation approved by the government that meet their Phuket Sandbox travel needs, and access Phuket and Thailand travel guides for more insights.

We believe the move is likely to expand the company’s reach to travelers looking for a vacation trip to Phuket. This in turn will generate more bookings and hence drive top-line growth.

Recovery in Travel Industry

The travel industry witnessed a severe downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, rising vaccination drive and lifting of restrictions in many parts of the world are improving this industry. This in turn is boosting the confidence of travellers.

According to the U.S. Travel Association’s Monthly Travel Recovery Data Report, around nine out of ten American travelers have traveling plans in the next six months. Also, according to a poll conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (“GBTA”), 74% of GBTA buyer and procurement respondents feel that their employees are willing to travel for business in the current scenario.

In addition, a report by TripAdvisor (TRIP - Free Report) reveals that countries including the United States and United Kingdom where the vaccination drive is going at a faster pace will be witnessing a higher travel demand in the near term. The report also reveals that 51% of U.S. respondents have domestic summer plans while 22% are up for traveling abroad.

Moreover, a report by Technavio indicates that the online travel booking platform market is likely to reach $204.8 billion by 2024, witnessing a CAGR of 5% between 2020 and 2024.

Further, a report by ResearchandMarkets reveals that the global mobile travel booking market is anticipated to register a CAGR of 12.2% from 2021 to 2029.

Competitive Scenario

Given this improved scenario, not only Booking Holdings’ Agoda but its competitors including TripAdvisor, Expedia (EXPE - Free Report) , Airbnb (ABNB - Free Report) and MakeMyTrip are also well poised to capitalize on the improving travel prospects.

Last month, TripAdvisor launched a mobile app for iOS and Android users. The app will provide insights from millions of travellers to make better travel plans for summer.

In addition, Expedia announced Expedia Travel Week — the biggest sale of the year between Jun 8 and Jun 12 — to help travelers plan their next trip, featuring savings on more than 30 thousand hotels, 800 activities, cruise lines and more.

Meanwhile, Airbnb collaborated with Expedia’s Vrbo for developing the Community Integrity Program to address community safety by providing important information on listings and taking actions on repeat party house offenders.

Further, MakeMyTrip’s launch of CoviRide — a platform to help individuals and organizations find and provide transport assistance for vaccination, oxygen centers, hospitals, medical equipment and medicine transfer — remains noteworthy.

Markedly, the latest move by Agoda is expected toboost its competitive prowess against other companies.

Currently, Booking Holdings has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.