Global travel was decimated due to restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. This hit online travel agencies particularly hard as they suddenly found themselves with mass cancellations and no new bookings. But Booking Holdings (BKNG) has come through the worst and is now generating record revenue and profitability, highlights Doug Gerlach, editor of Investor Advisory Service.
BKNG is the world leader in online travel and related services with customers and partners in more than 220 countries and territories. The company has six brands:
- Booking.com, the world’s leading site for online reservations based on room nights booked
- Kayak, a meta-search engine that aggregates travel reservation opportunities from hundreds of websites
- Priceline.com, a hotel, rental car, airline, and vacation package reservation service in the US
- Agoda.com, a leading travel service catering to customers in the Asia-Pacific region
- Rentalcars.com, a worldwide rental car service
- OpenTable, a restaurant reservation service
Booking earns much of its revenue and profit overseas. In the first nine months of 2023, 88% of sales came from international operations, mostly Booking.com. The company is especially strong in cross-border travel, which prior to the pandemic was growing faster than domestic travel.
Its service is more valuable in markets where the hospitality industry is highly fragmented, which tends to be the case in Europe. The US market, in contrast, is dominated by chains and hotel groups that have better marketing resources and more bargaining power. Even so, Booking has expanded its presence in the US since the start of the pandemic.
Analysts expect long-term growth of 20%. We are more conservative and project 14%. Our selected high P/E of 25 and forecasted 2028 EPS of 276.51 would produce a high share price of 6,912. The selected low P/E of 15 and trailing twelve-month EPS of 143.61 combines for a low share price of 2,154. The combination produces an upside/downside ratio of 3.8 to 1.