Booking Holdings CEO discusses threats to post-pandemic travel demand

on Jun 30, 2021
  • CEO Glenn D. Fogel acknowledges that the hospitality industry is facing a shortage of workers.
  • The increased cost of renting a car at some places is also making people rethink their travel plans.
  • Governments should work together to make it easier for fully vaccinated people to travel.

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The vaccine rollouts have helped the global travel and tourism industry to recover in recent weeks. But a sharp increase in demand has led to shortages. Hotels and restaurants, for example, are struggling to find enough workers to cater to the rising number of guests.  

Glenn D. Fogel’s comments on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”

Booking Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: BKNG) CEO Glenn D. Fogel, however, is confident that such shortages won’t weigh on the American travel technology company’s business. He, however, acknowledged the issue on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” and said:

“We hear this all the time; people saying that I’m comfortable with what I’m getting in terms of unemployment benefits or supplementals stuff. It’s summertime, I’m not sure if I want to take that job right now. I’ll think about this in the fall. And that’s certainly hurting the hospitality industry tremendously.”

According to Fogel, once the summer ends, the average hourly wage increases, or the extended benefits fade away, there will likely not be a shortage of workers anymore.

The higher labour wages, however, come with a different set of risks because it makes employers switch to technology-based automated solutions, the CEO noted in his interview. The larger restaurant chains, for example, are now taking orders via a smart device instead of a waiter. Or the automated vacuums are cleaning the hotel floors. “This could change the structure in the long run,” he said.

Governments should make it easier for full-vaccinated people to travel

Fogel sees the associated costs as another risk to travel recovery.

“A lot of rental services had downsized fleets during the COVID-19 crisis. Now, they’re taking time to upsize because the global auto industry is facing a chip shortage. Consequently, what it costs at some places to rent a car at the moment is making many people rethink their travel plans,” he added.

Lastly, Fogel said, for a swift recovery in travel and tourism, governments from around the world need to work together and come up with consistent ways to make it easier for fully vaccinated people to travel. To that end, the green certificate that goes live in Europe on July 1st, he added, is a good initiative.


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