A recent investor note from Cowen Equity Research shows that Booking Holdings is “in a better position to maintain staff today and invest in the recovery” when compared with other OTAs Airbnb and Expedia Group.

The research estimated that all three had the same fixed costs of about $750 million per quarter pre-coronavirus, but that recent financing leaves Booking Holdings with around $8.5 billion in liquidity, while refunding pre-paid bookings leaves Airbnb and Expedia with around $1-2 billion each.

One of Bookings’ advantages is its pay-at-the-hotel agency model; Airbnb agreed to refund cancelled guest bookings while Booking Holdings and Expedia were generally refunding a portion of upfront payments, but not mandating this as Airbnb did unilaterally.

Cowen forecasts that hotel room revenue will fall 50% in 2020, and will jump 50% in 2021 and 33% 2022, and that despite varying abilities to bounce back quickly, Booking, Airbnb, and Expedia will all “participate significantly in the bounce back”.

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