Facebook could be indicating a harder push into online booking with the surreptitious hiring of former online travel executive Nikhilesh Ponde as head of global travel strategy in July. He came from senior roles at Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire and most recently Indian e-commerce site Flipkart.
Facebook has dabbled in travel bookings over the years, but this hire implies they are looking to develop an online travel strategy to become a more robust booking platform, especially on mobile channels. Facebook recently announced that they reach over 1.8 billion people every month, with 1.2 billion returning daily.
Facebook’s previous head of global travel strategy left after nearly four years in July 2016, for a role at Alibaba Group.