Robust Leisure Travel Demand Drives Booking Holdings’ Q2 Performance

Online travel company Booking Holdings reported strong results for the second quarter, driven by robust leisure travel demand and a focus on artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

“I am pleased to report that in the second quarter, we continued to see robust leisure travel demand, which helped drive the strong results we are announcing today,” Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel said Thursday (Aug. 3) during the company’s quarterly earnings call.

Shares of Booking Holdings rose 4.32% in after-hours trading after the company released its results and guidance, Seeking Alpha reported Thursday.

During the second quarter, room nights booked increased by 9% year over year, Fogel said during the call. Gross bookings of $39.7 billion grew 15% year over year and was the highest quarterly gross bookings ever. Revenue growth in the second quarter was 27% and the company’s Q2 adjusted EBITDA was about $1.8 billion, an increase of 64% from Q2 of last year.

Asia drove much of the growth in the second quarter, followed by the rest of the world and Europe. The United States was down slightly from a strong second quarter a year earlier, Fogel said.

In terms of Booking Holdings’ current focus, the company is looking at pockets of efficiency in their marketing spend and working to build out different elements of the “connected trip,” Fogel said. Connected trip is the company’s effort to enable customers to book all aspects of their travel experience through its platform.

Booking Holdings’ mobile apps accounted for 48% of second-quarter room nights booked, Fogel said. In addition, the company is implementing AI technology into its offerings, including Penny, a generative AI travel assistant from Priceline, and an AI trip planner on the mobile app.

“Across our company, we have a long history of investing in AI technology and incorporating it into our platforms in order to optimize interactions with both our travelers and partners,” Fogel said during the call. “This is an area where we believe we are well-positioned, given we have built strong teams of AI experts and gained valuable experience from using AI extensively for years.”

Booking Holdings’ earnings call came on the same day as those of two of its rivals.

One, TripAdvisor, reported Thursday that its revenue grew 18% as travelers sought experiences.

Another rival, Expedia, reported on the same day that its gross bookings were up 5%.