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Booking Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:BKNG) Catches a Flight on Strong Q3 Data

Booking Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:BKNG), which recently changed its name and ticker symbol from (PCLN), is trading sharply higher today after reporting strong Q3 results. BKNG is an online travel company.

Originally known as Priceline, the company underwent a name and ticker change in February of this year to better reflect the company’s much-broadened portfolio.

Its segment probably remains the most widely known, but BKNG also owns several other online travel brands, including current namesake and flagship portal, which generates a significant portion of the company’s international results, as well as KAYAK,,, and OpenTable.

Turning to the Q3 results, non-GAAP EPS rose 7% year/year to $37.78, which was above prior guidance of $36.70-37.70. Revenue rose 9.4% year/year to $4.85 bln, which also was above prior guidance of $4.70-4.83 bln.

Adjusted EBITDA is a key metric for BKNG, and it grew by 8% year/year to $2.36 bln, at the high end of prior guidance for $2.30-2.36 bln. In terms of guidance for Q4, the company sees non-GAAP EPS of $18.90-19.40 and revenue growth of +13-16%, which we compute as $3.17-3.25 bln. The guidance is above market expectations.

On the call, management talked about how it’s beginning to ramp up brand advertising. The goal of this ramp is to bring more customers directly to BKNG’s platforms and to increase product awareness, particularly in its home segment. BKNG also noted that it has expanded its product breadth and improved its customer experience in the areas of alternative accommodations and experiences.

BKNG has been building supply in alternative accommodations to better take on rivals like AirBNB. The website connects users to a blend of hotels and private residences.

The company says its listings are mostly for hotels, but it wants to build out its offerings of private residences, otherwise known as alternative accommodations. BKNG has said in the past that its alternative accommodations offerings are not as large as those of certain industry peers (presumably AirBNB), however, the company is investing in the growth of that side of its business.

However, while its portfolio of alternative accommodations may be slighter than those of peers, the site’s ability to list both hotels and alternative accommodations on the same page may constitute a superior offering for customers than a platform that does not so readily enable comparison.

This design may give an advantage over competitors like AirBNB, which includes only alternative accommodations. A customer in search of lodging sees both categories in their results and can easily consult reviews to find their first choice among various options.

Not only can customers do research and make choices on’s platform, but on the site, those choices are instantly bookable, and this point of convenience is significant for a lot of customers. Other services may entail back-and-forth with a property owner via email, and in the end, the owner may not want to rent to you.’s alternative accommodations, on the other hand, are 100% instantly bookable. Another advantage when it comes to customer appeal is that does not charge travelers’ fees.

Overall, knows that it is less well-known than others like AirBNB, but it’s working hard to become a leader in the alternative accommodations space. Overall, this was another very good quarter for BKNG. The company reported decent upside for Q3 and upside Q4 guidance. The stock is always a bit volatile around earnings and has a history of making big moves around results time.

From a broader perspective, the company continues to focus on the positioning and share of its largest brand,, in the interest of enabling it to competitively list both hotels and accommodations from the rising private apartments rental category. The stock has been trending lower in recent months, but perhaps this report can help it to get back on a sustained uptrend.


Top Down View

Booking Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:BKNG) frames itself as a company that provides online travel and related services in the United States, the Netherlands, and internationally.

It operates, which provides online accommodation reservation services; offers hotel, rental car, and airline ticket reservation services, as well as vacation packages and cruises under the brand through its Name Your Own Price and Express Deals travel services; and operates KAYAK, a meta-search service allowing consumers to easily search and compare travel itineraries and prices, including airline ticket, accommodation, and rental car reservation information.

The company also operates, which provides online accommodation reservation services; that offers rental car reservation services; and OpenTable that offers restaurant reservation and information services to consumers and restaurant reservation management, as well as customer acquisition services to restaurants.

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