US: Booking Holdings brands, KAYAK and OpenTable, have announced that 400 employees will be affected by layoffs, furloughs or reductions in their working hours, in an email obtained by Skift.
The CEO of both brands, Steve Hafner, attributed the cuts to the drops in revenue caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and told staff they had done “everything” they could to avoid such steps.
Of the 400 employees in question, 160 are being laid off and the remaining 240 will wait to hear if they are being furloughed or having their working hours reduced. The move will impact approximately 1.5 per cent of Booking Holdings’ global employee workforce, accounting for up to 25 per cent of those in employment with either KAYAK or OpenTable.
Hafner confirmed office and personnel expenses would be slimmed by 20 per cent, and senior team members had accepted 15 per cent reductions on their salaries.
With the travel industry being widely decimated by the coronavirus fallout, Hafner cited the fact that “most experts now predict a prolonged downturn” as a reason to “adjust our team accordingly”.
In his email, Hafner said: “To our team members being impacted today, I’m very grateful for the ideas and energy that you brought to OpenTable and KAYAK. I’m also incredibly sad about the hardship that this news may present for you and your families.
“Staffing changes are always demoralising, especially when caused by factors outside of our control. These were not easy decisions and we’ll do our best to help you.
“The future will get brighter. Our mission of helping everyone easily experience the world is more important than ever. Travel and dining will be reimagined and our services will be too.
“We’ll emerge stronger and better. But all of that provides little solace for days like this one,” he added.
KAYAK, a fare aggregator and travel metasearch engine, launched its Premium product for American users in December at the Skift Short-Term Rental Summit in New York City, as a resource for promoting professionally managed short-term rentals and boutique hotels in its search results.
The brand syncs with property management companies and hotel property systems, while also recommending a select number of places to stay on a short-term basis.
The job cuts are the first to be reported among the Booking Holding Companies, although Booking.com chief executive Glenn Fogel recently admitted redundancies were “probable”.