Booking Holdings is a leading online travel service, headquartered in the United States. Founded in 1997 as Priceline, the Booking Holdings name was established in 2018. The company’s services include online accommodation, travel and rental car bookings, as well as, price comparisons through platforms such as KAYAK, Priceline and Agoda. Booking Holdings has more than 28 million accommodation listings across 220 countries, and operations in Singapore, the United States and Europe.
Booking Holdings supports digital inclusion for women and girls through its Technology Playmaker awards which recognises the achievements of women in the tech sector. Women from across the world are celebrated and awarded with more than $67,000 of funding. Thorough Agoda, a subsidiary, the company supports accessibility initiatives for users with disabilities such as the Café Amazon for Chance which employs baristas with hearing disabilities.
Booking Holdings supports the innovation ecosystem by sharing big data on reservations made through Booking.com, which is useful for researchers looking at travel purchase behaviour. The company also discloses the share of its women employees in tech and engineering roles.
The company could demonstrate support for universal and affordable access to digital technologies, including for users with disabilities. The company can increase transparency by disclosing the number of its employees with disabilities. Booking Holdings should also disclose how the direct economic value it creates is distributed among its stakeholders.
Limited evidence was found of the company contributing to open, sustainable and inclusive innovation. Booking Holdings could better demonstrate how it practises open innovation and supports ethical research and development.
Core social indicators
The core social indicators assess societal expectations of business conduct that companies should meet if they aspire to be part of a system transformation that leaves no one behind.
Booking Holdings commits to respect human rights and has a grievance mechanism that is accessible to workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints. However, while the company has a process to identify human rights risks in its own operations, it does not have a process to identify human rights risks in its business relationships. Furthermore, the company does not disclose what its salient human rights risks are, nor does it take systematic action on a global level to address these human rights risks. However, Booking Holdings does engage with stakeholders on general human rights issues.
Booking Holdings publicly commits to respecting the health and safety of workers and places health and safety expectations on its business relationships, but does not disclose quantitative health and safety information. While the company provides a breakdown of employees in different employee categories by gender, and discloses that it has at least 30% women on the board, it does not report against any other indicators of diversity. Furthermore, the company has not formally committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and is not explicit in stating that it does not require workers to work more than the regular and overtime hours.
Booking Holdings has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption and has a grievance mechanism for stakeholders to raise concerns and complaints, but does not include anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in its contracts with suppliers. Furthermore, while the company has a policy statement setting out its approach to lobbying, it does not have a similar policy setting out its approach to political engagement nor does it specify that it does not make political contributions. Finally, while Bookings Holdings has a UK specific tax strategy, it does not have a global tax strategy and it does not disclose income tax payments for all its tax jurisdictions.