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What’s in a name? More dollars and customers, feels Priceline

It is doubtful if any other business sector in the US has witnessed as much volatility in recent times as the travel and tourism industry did. The controversial travel ban imposed by the Trump administration came at a time when the sector was reeling under pressure due to dwindling tourist arrivals.

While a concerted effort is on by various associations and government agencies to woo tourists back to the country, leading players in the travel business are busy revisiting their strategies. The Priceline Group, the second largest travel agency, is going for a fundamental change; the company has rechristened itself as Booking Holdings Inc. The existing brands – Booking.com, priceline.com, KAYAK, agoda.com, Rentalcars.com and OpenTable – will now operate under the renamed company.

Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

The identity change reflects the growing brand portfolio and highlights Booking.com, the underlying driver of the company’s growth. The average daily booking at Booking.com, the hotel-and-home-rental business unit, is pegged at more than one million.

“We’re better known outside the US than inside. By changing the parent name, we expect people in the US will have better awareness of all the different things that what we do,” said CEO Glenn Fogel.

Consequent to the name-change, Booking Holdings will start trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the new symbol BKNG on February 27, when the company is scheduled to publish its fourth quarter earnings results.

The identity change reflects the growing brand portfolio and highlights Booking.com, the underlying driver of the company’s growth.

Booking.Com had undergone various transformations ever since it came into existence during the dotcom boom in the nineties. After weathering the dotcom bust successfully, it went on expanding through various acquisitions including that of KAYAK. Extensive promotional activities, including advertisements featuring Hollywood actors, added steam to the growth momentum.

Markets responded positively to the name-change, and the stock gained more than 10% in the early trading hours on Wednesday.

Reflecting the intense competition in the travel sector, Priceline’s rival Expedia earlier this month reported disappointing financial results for its most recent quarter, triggering a stock sell-off.

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