Booking.com, the world’s dominant online travel agent, will restructure its business and shed 25% of staff by the end of this year due to the impact of COVID-19.
Up 4500 staff could lose their jobs, though final numbers are still being worked through, according to a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing by parent company Booking Holdings.
“Booking.com is in the process of consulting with its works councils, employee representatives and other relevant organizations where applicable regarding the intended reduction in force and related cost reduction and restructuring actions,” the statement said.
“As the Company consults with works councils, employee representatives and other organizations regarding its intentions, the Company expects to develop more clarity on the timing, the number of affected employees, financial impact and other aspects of the contemplated cost reduction actions.
“The Company expects to finalize its plans and make relevant announcements to employees on a country by country basis, with the first countries starting in September 2020, and expects to complete all such announcements by the end of 2020.”
Bookings Holdings is due to report its second quarter earnings on Thursday.
The company – which also owns Agoda, Priceline and Kayak – reported a 51% drop in first-quarter gross travel bookings year over year.
However, Phocuswire reports that CEO Glenn Fogel said the the Q1 results masked the global impact of COVID was having on bookings.
In a statement, a Booking Holdings spokeswoman told CNBC: “The Covid-19 crisis has devastated the travel industry, and we continue to feel the impact as travel volumes remain significantly reduced.
“While we have done much to save as many jobs as possible, we believe we must restructure our organization to match our expectation of the future of travel.”