CEO of parent talks about travel, leadership

Jan 8, 2023, 4:05 PM | Updated: Jan 9, 2023, 6:21 am

This photo provided by Booking Holdings shows Glenn Fogel, CEO of The travel recovery has boosted Booking Holdings Inc. to record quarterly earnings, and Wall Street expects the company to post even bigger profits this year. (Booking Holdings via AP)

(Booking Holdings via AP)

The travel recovery has boosted Booking Holdings Inc. to record quarterly earnings, and Wall Street expects the company to post even bigger profits this year.

The company, which operates its namesake website,, plus Priceline, Kayak and other travel and dining sites, has earned $1.8 billion through the first three quarters of 2022. Customer bookings are running more than one-third ahead of the year-ago pace.

The stock, while finishing down 16% in 2022, is holding up much better than shares of rival online travel agencies.

CEO Glenn Fogel spoke recently to The Associated Press about whether the rebound in travel is sustainable, uncertainty about the economy, and his management style. The answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q. You had a record third-quarter profit, and analysts expect a good fourth quarter. What’s the outlook for the new year?

A. Gross bookings for the first quarter are up 25% over 2019. So that was a very positive sign. It’s always a very early indicator, and things can change, there can be cancellations — certainly we’ve seen that over the last few years. But we are encouraged by what we see so far.

Q. Airline and hotel prices are up sharply. How long can consumers pay those prices?

A. The prices are very high. Those prices would not be so high if there wasn’t demand — simple supply and demand. One hypothesis is people have built up large savings during the last few years because of the different government programs and the fact that people were locked down in their homes. So people built up savings, and now they want to spend them.

Q. But aren’t they going to exhaust those savings, and will that be soon?

A. Well, that is the question. At what point do we get back to, say, a 2019 world in which people had a lower amount of savings and a higher level of debt? And do people start correcting there or not? One thing that nobody knows is what’s going to happen with our economies going forward, the U.S. economy in particular. Right now things are good. Right now we’re feeling hopeful.

Q. How is working from home changing travel demand?

A. If people are under a flexible work schedule — meaning they only have to show up at a set location some of the time … they are working from another location that they will also combine with a vacation. You see that in the increased amount of travel on Thursdays and Fridays. Not sure how the companies are keeping track of how much work is actually being done on Friday afternoon.

Q. Booking Holdings has a lot of exposure to Europe. Do you need to grow in the U.S.?

A. We do believe it’s important for us to continue to build our share in the U.S. One of my jobs to make sure that we make ourselves as aware to the U.S. traveler who wants to find a home in the U.S. as any other part of the world. Our room-night growth rate in the U.S. for the third quarter was up approximately 30% versus 2019. That’s a huge jump, and we definitely are gaining share and I hope we will continue to do so.

Q. Airbnb is ratcheting up its search for people to list their homes. Are you doing the same thing?

A. Some time ago, people who owned a home would perhaps go to a platform and list it themselves. (Now) there are intermediaries. These are people, professional managers, who will take care of the listing for the property owner, handle all the issues. We’re going to large property managers who have a significant amount of inventory, and that enables us to have more selection, more different places that people can stay on our platform.

Q. What new products do you have?

A. One that I do think it’s important is the area of sustainability, our Travel Sustainable Badge program. (Properties are rated in tiers.) Some of the stuff is obvious like changing your incandescent lights to LED lights, but there a lot of other things in terms of water, all sorts of things.

Q. But do consumers book based on sustainability ratings?

A. Price is always the first thing on someone’s mind, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about sustainability.

Q. How big a problem are fake reviews, and how does that affect the company?

A. We already do a very good job making sure that what’s put on is an opinion of someone that at least has actually experienced whatever they’re commenting on. One cannot put a comment or a review on a hotel unless they’ve actually stayed at a hotel on our platform. If we see an interesting change in someone’s review score, our machine learning will immediately say, ‘Hmm, this is an anomaly. We should look into this.’

Q. Has your management style changed in the time you’ve been CEO?

A. As you age, you recognize how important it is to reserve judgment and wait, think before making decisions — that it’s important to let things settle. When I was much younger, I had a higher-percentage chance that I think I knew the right answer right away.

Q. You’re 60. How long do you plan to stay, and what’s the succession plan?

A. (Laughs) That’s something that I discuss with my board of directors. It’s always important for all companies to keep in mind that nobody is ever in a job forever. I will say I love this job, I love what we’re doing.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest, a Coast Guard rescue swimmer reac...
Associated Press

Man rescued by Coast Guard wanted in ‘Goonies’ fish incident

A man who was saved by a Coast Guard rescue swimmer at the mouth of the Columbia River as a massive wave rolled the yacht he was piloting Friday was wanted for a bizarre incident in which police said he left a dead fish at the Astoria, Oregon, home featured in the classic 1985 film, "The Goonies."
23 hours ago
FILE - An Amazon company logo on the company's building in Schoenefeld near Berlin, Germany, March ...
Associated Press

Amazon violated labor law with delivery app

A Spanish court has ruled that Amazon broke labor laws by forcing more than 2,000 delivery drivers to use an app that the company controlled for scheduling work and payments and requiring them to use their own cars and cellphones on the job.
23 hours ago
Harry Styles attends the premiere of "My Policeman" at the Princess of Wales Theatre during the Tor...
Associated Press

Grammys could make history with Beyoncé, Bad Bunny wins

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Will Beyoncé emerge from the Grammy Awards as its most decorated artist ever? That’s one of the main storylines heading into Sunday’s ceremony, where the superstar is the leading nominee and needs four wins to make history. Several of music’s biggest names, including Beyoncé, are in the running for the night’s […]
23 hours ago
This combination of photos shows top nominees for the Gramy Awards, from left, Adele, Beyonce and H...
Associated Press

Grammys 2023 live updates: Latest news from red carpet, show

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Follow along for real-time, on-the-carpet and behind-the-scenes updates on the 2023 Grammy Awards from The Associated Press. Live updates — any times Pacific — are brought to you by AP journalists at the show in Los Angeles and around the country. ___ INTRO TRACK The 2023 Grammy Awards show is upon […]
23 hours ago
Bridgit Smith, executive director of the Insight Women's Center stands outside the door to its educ...
Associated Press

US states take control of abortion debate with funding focus

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Though the Insight Women’s Center sits at the epicenter of a reinvigorated battle in the nation’s culture wars, the only hint of its faith-based mission to dissuade people from getting abortions is the jazzy, piano rendition of “Jesus Loves Me” playing in a waiting room. The Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature is considering […]
23 hours ago
This photo provided by Jason Sellers shows U.S. Air Force fighter aircraft shooting down a suspecte...
Associated Press

Chinese balloon’s downing creates spectacle over tourism hub

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — The downing of a suspected Chinese spy balloon just off South Carolina’s coast created a spectacle over one of the state’s tourism hubs and drew crowds reacting with a mixture of bewildered gazing, distress and cheering. The balloon was struck by a missile from an F-22 fighter just off Myrtle […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
CEO of parent talks about travel, leadership