Online travel and airline ticketing company Booking Holdings Inc. is planning to significantly reduce its workforce amid the continued slump in the global travel industry. The Connecticut-based company announced that it will be cutting its total workforce by up to 25 percent; a move that will affect the jobs of an estimated 4,000 of its employees.
The job cuts will mostly be affecting workers at its flagship online platform Booking.com. The company did not specifically mention whether other jobs at its other online platforms – including its Priceline, Agoda, Kayak, Rentalcars, Momondo, OpenTable, and Cheapflights – would be affected.
During a video call with employees, Booking Holdings' chief executive officer, Glen Fogel, mentioned that the company is now facing the hardest ever social and economic crisis since its founding. He added that the past five months have especially been brutal to the company's operations and it is facing significant financial pressures. Fogel reasoned that the decision was not an easy one to make and he had hoped that the company wouldn't need to resort to cutting its workforce.
The company stated that even though it had received government aid earlier in the year, the continued economic effects of the pandemic have simply proven to be too much to handle given its current structure. In line with this, Booking.com is laying the groundwork for a massive restructuring and reorganization plan to match the wider expectations for the future of the travel industry.
Booking.com currently has active operations in over 65 countries worldwide. Its websites are available in 40 different languages. The company employs about 26,000 people through its major online platform brands. Out of the total, the company has around 17,500 people working at its core Booking.com platform.
The global travel industry was heavily hit by the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as countries closed down their borders to international travel to mitigate the spread of the virus. This greatly impacted Booking.com's ability to generate any profits for the past quarter as people continue to avoid traveling as much as possible. Business trips are also no longer as frequent as most now prefer to meet each other through video conferencing as opposed to in-person meetings.
Apart from Booking.com, other travel and tourism-related companies have also greatly reduced their workforce given the prolonged pandemic. Airbnb and TripAdvisor both reduced their global workforce by around 25 percent earlier in the year amid continued losses. Last week, Expedia Group reported an 82 percent decline in its revenues for the second quarter.