Booking.com reports gross bookings of more than £1 billion

Priceline.com’s international businesses have reported gross bookings of more than £1 billion in the three months ending September 30 this year.


Its third quarter results this week showed international gross bookings came in at $1.7 billion, equating to just over £1 billion at current exchange rates.


This is 38% ahead of the same period last year in dollar terms or 48% in local currencies. Gross bookings represent the total amount paid by customers including taxes and fees.


International revenues came in at $317 million, a 41.7% increase versus a year ago or 50% on a local currency basis.


Booking.com comprises the majority of Priceline’s international businesses, although its Asia-Pacific bedbank Agoda.com continues to grow with a 100% improvement on the third quarter of 2008.


Speaking to Wall Street analysts about booking.com, Priceline’s chief executive Jeffery Boyd said: “While our competition has significantly reduced marketing spend, we have increased our spend in online channels.”


Booking.com now has more than 73,000 hotels, but he pointed out that “we don’t look at the absolute hotel count as defining the market… it’s potentially more important to make sure that we’ve got the right rates and availability from the hotels that do participate.”


He also pointed out that many of the hotels on its books are also available through “international and local competitors.”


Expedia, he said,  has been talking up its agency offer while Orbitz is focusing its efforts on hotels. “It’s very competitive out there,” he said, “but we have to make sure that we’re doing what we think is right for our business and not necessarily trying to map what they’re doing.”


When asked for a top-line view, he said: “Leisure travel in the European market has been stronger this summer than most people thought it would be at the beginning of the year.”

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