Booking.com is firing up to a quarter of its employees to deal with the corona crisis. The CEO of booking site Glenn Fogel reported this to his employees on Tuesday morning. In the coming weeks it will have to be clear which departments, countries and how many employees are affected.
More than 17,000 employees work for Booking.com, an originally Dutch company, of which 5,500 are based at the headquarters in Amsterdam. The company has 198 offices in more than 70 countries worldwide, including Brussels.
“In my heart I hoped for a long time that this would not happen,” said Fogel in a video message to his employees. “However, nothing can mitigate the impact of this crisis on the travel industry and our business.” He described the past five months as “the greatest social and economic crisis in our life”.
The booking was hit hard by the global travel industry downturn following the pandemic. Due to the small number of intercontinental flights and the stalled business market, the number of overnight stays booked remained low in the current summer season.
Support from the Dutch government
In April the booking site asked the Dutch government for support in the form of Emergency Fund Bridging Employment (NOW) and was therefore criticized. Politicians, unions and catering owners believed the company should have absorbed the setback itself, having made billions of dollars in profits in recent years. The business magazine Quote reported that the company had benefited from tax benefits of almost EUR 1.8 billion in recent years through favorable agreements.
Last month it turned out that Booking finally received around € 61 million in wage support, making it the largest recipient of Dutch support money after KLM and NS. Without the help, the number of workers affected would likely have been greater, a spokesman said. The management of Booking.com had previously announced that in addition to the salary restrictions that the board had imposed on itself, one-fifth of the salary would be given.
The significant job cuts at Booking is comparable to that of other travel platforms, which are also suffering badly from the crisis. Airbnb and the TripAdvisor platform previously reported that they also said goodbye to a quarter of the employees.