(Corrects quote in paragraph 7 to remove reference to use of alternative accommodation more than hotels)
By Shreyasee Raj
:Online travel agency Booking Holdings Inc said on Wednesday its quarterly revenue more than tripled and trounced estimates, driven by strong demand in Europe and the United States as more people planned their long-delayed getaways.
Shares of the company, down 6per cent for the year, rose nearly 4per cent in aftermarket trading on a smaller adjusted quarterly loss, helped by vaccine rollouts and easing travel restrictions.
The travel industry has been witnessing a quicker-than-expected return in demand, with economies rebounding from a pandemic-led slowdown.
However, the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant that has led to a rise in cases in several countries could thwart the recovery. The United States has decided to keep existing travel restrictions despite months of lobbying by the airlines.
Connecticut-based Booking said Asia, where vaccinations were low and cases high, was the least recovered region in July and continues to be down significantly from 2019 levels.
It said pandemic fears are driving people away from crowded hotels to alternative accommodations such as home stays, adding nearly one-fourth of the listings on its Booking.com platform were for such accommodations at the end of the quarter.
"People are looking at alternative accommodation more than they did in the past. Going forward, that will continue," Chief Executive Officer Glenn Fogel told Reuters.
Room nights, a measure of occupancy at any property, in the second quarter jumped 59per cent from the previous three months, driven by strong demand in Europe and the United States.
While adjusted net loss narrowed to US$105 million from US$443 million a year earlier, Booking posted a bigger-than-expected loss of US$2.55 per share, compared with estimates of US$2.04, as operating expenses nearly doubled.
Revenue soared to US$2.16 billion, beating Wall Street estimates of US$1.90 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
(Reporting by Shreyasee Raj in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)