Priceline and Booking.com just launched new landing pages dedicated to helping travelers find summer travel deals across the US, including savings targeted by location
As states begin to reopen and travel restrictions slowly lift, travelers are beginning to consider planning travel again. Popular online booking sites like Booking.com and Priceline have launched new summer deals pages for domestic travel to attract travelers who want to stay close to home. Travelers can save on popular hotels across the country, car rentals, and more for travel to take place this summer, with some deals extending into fall and winter, as well. Read all Business Insider travel reviews here.
Following the shelter-in-place and self-isolation guidelines put into place due to the novel coronavirus, states across the US are beginning to lift restrictions and reopen. The travel industry was particularly hard hit by the pandemic, with flights being canceled, hotels closing, and most people ceasing travel altogether. Now, travelers are starting to think about vacations for the summer and later in the year, or early 2021. Hotels are reopening with new cleaning policies in place, and flights begin to resume with new safety procedures. If you're wondering if travel is safe at all right now, we turned to experts to weigh in on the risks associated with Airbnbs, hotels, flights, and more. However, it's important to note that without a vaccine, there's no guarantee for safety when traveling. We urge travelers to follow guidelines from organizations like the CDC and WHO and to consider their own risk factors before booking any travel. Unsurprisingly, most travelers are largely considering domestic travel over international trips. Both travel agents and booking sites have seen an uptick in interest for domestic vacation planning. Airbnb has also seen more US travel bookings and even released a list of its most popular destinations around the country. Now, both booking sites and online travel agents are looking to capitalize on that interest and lure future travelers back with domestic travel deals for the summer. The Booking.com Great Getaway Sale Popular travel booking site Booking.com just introduced "The Great Getaway Sale," a promotion aimed at driving summer travel bookings. As part of the new initiative, the site launched a brand new deals page to help adventurers find nearby travel deals that are close to home, based on their IP address. Users can see domestic travel deals relevant to their location and receive a minimum of 15% off select properties for stays that take place between June 1 and August 31, 2020. Other deals featured even extend all the way through January 4, 2021, for those who don't feel comfortable hitting the road just yet. Current offers featured on the new deals page include Orlando hotels for as low as $46 per night. Even highly-rated hotels in New York like the Arlo Nomad can be booked on summer weekend nights for as low as $99. The page also has a "Stay Flexible" button so users can search exclusively for properties offering free cancellation. Other filters include rating, breakfast included, budget, and more. The Priceline Summer Sale Similarly, Priceline also just launched a summer sale with its own deals page. After seeing a spike in one-way rentals for off-airport pickups of 168%, Priceline decided to include car rentals in its sale as well. Users can receive up to 40% off major rental car brands, including Avis and Budget. If you're wondering if renting a car is safe right now, we talked to experts about that, too. You can also find our list of the best car rental companies here. Additionally, deep discounts can be found on hotels across the country on Priceline, from 3+ star hotels in Hawaii available for $171 per night (compared to an average of $482 at this same time last year), to 3+ star hotels in LA starting at $148 per night (down from $229 per night comparatively). The sale also includes $20 off two-night Express Deal hotel stays nationwide. Looking for domestic trip inspiration? Start here
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Important cancellation policies and dates for 2020 holiday travel: Marriott, Airbnb, Hilton, and more
Summary List Placement Despite the pandemic, many will likely consider holiday travel this year to visit...Summary List Placement Despite the pandemic, many will likely consider holiday travel this year to visit family and take deferred vacations after months of isolation. Cheap fares, hotel rates, and packages are also aiming to lure those who are comfortable with the risks associated with travel. If you're considering booking a great deal but want to watch and see what happens, it's important to understand cancellation policies. We compiled key 2020 holiday dates and cancellation policies for hotel brands, vacation rental platforms, and online booking sites. Read more: Is it safe to travel for the holidays? Here's what doctors, a microbiologist, and a travel pro told us. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky The holiday travel season is going to look very different in 2020. Many people will be weighing whether they should go anywhere at all, not just because of safety, but because of social responsibility. And while some will stay home, others will still plan to travel by plane, train, or car to see loved ones after months of separation, or to take a long-anticipated vacation. After all, exceptionally low prices are being promoted right now on everything from flights to hotels and vacation packages, adding serious temptation. "In normal years, the holidays are one of the most expensive times of year to travel," explains Scott's Cheap Flights founder Scott Keyes. "That's because it's such a popular time not only to see family, but for many students, teachers, and families with kids, it may be one of the few coordinated vacation breaks they get. With all those people traveling at the same time, fares are bound to go up." He cautions, however, "But this isn't a normal year." Because far fewer people are booking holiday travel, Keyes says the opposite has occurred, and holiday fares have precipitously dropped. "We have found more cheap Christmas flights in 2020 than the past five years combined. So while people mistakenly assume that all cheap flights these days are a result of the pandemic, the one area where cheap fares are directly attributable to coronavirus is for holiday travel." And while many travelers will want to take advantage of such lucrative deals, the situation surrounding the novel coronavirus is fast-evolving. While one destination may seem safe right now, it could easily emerge as a new hotspot in two to three months if a second wave of the pandemic occurs, and as cold and flu season begins. For those that want to book travel, but lack confidence that they will actually be able to go, or may not ultimately feel comfortable doing so, it's important to know that your travel purchase is protected amid so much uncertainty. Fortunately, right now is also a good time to find more generous cancellation policies than ever before, with flexible options that allow travelers to back out without added fees, for any reason at all. Like airlines, major hotel brands and third-party booking engines are offering similarly lenient policies, competitive pricing, and refund options for both new and holiday bookings. They're also promoting stringent new cleaning procedures in an attempt to reassure concerned travelers. I did some heavy online digging to see how this side of hospitality is responding, and while few travel outlets are publishing special cancellation periods specifically targeted at holiday travel, some do specify a mid-December cutoff — approximately the week before Christmas — for refunds. That means most Thanksgiving travel may be booked right now, worry-free. For an at-a-glance guide to cancellation periods, we rounded up the current published policies from major hotels, online travel agencies, and home rental platforms. And if you do decide to book, here's what experts say you should know about whether it's safe to fly over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the holiday season, specifically. Keep reading for key dates and cancellation policies from hotels and online travel booking platforms for 2020 holiday travel. Airbnb Airbnb hosts set their own cancellation policies, which vary depending on the listing as well as the amount of time from booking, or until check-in. Individual cancellation details are available towards the bottom of each listing page, and you can also search by this filter for more flexible options. Available policies hosts can choose include Flexible, Moderate, and Strict. For some places, hosts offer a choice of refundable or non-refundable booking with a different price and terms. Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made on or before March 14, with a check-in date between that date and October 31, are covered by Airbnb's extenuating circumstances policy and may be canceled before check-in. Guests who cancel their bookings will see cancellation and refund options: Airbnb will either refund, or issue travel credit that includes, all service fees for covered cancellations. Booking.com Look for bookings that state flexible cancellation policies; if you don't book a flexible rate, you may not be entitled to a refund. If you already have a booking that is non-refundable or no longer free to cancel, you may face a cancellation fee if you cancel. You may also try calling the hotel property booked directly as they may be willing to change your dates at no additional cost. If your reservation ends up being a no-go because of pandemic-related events — like a border closure — sign into your account and check your options. In these situations, the property must provide a refund, offer a free date change, or a credit for a future stay. Expedia For future travel, look for the filters labeled "free cancellation" (for lodging) and "no change fee" (for flights) to avoid penalties. Car rentals are flexible. For existing travel, many reservations made through Expedia already qualify for either free cancellation or no-fee change. Sign into your account and check your itinerary. If you qualify, you can change or cancel your reservations from within your itinerary. If you booked a package vacation, you'll have to cancel your lodging and your flight separately, subject to the cancellation policies of your specific booking. If you don't have an account, you can use your itinerary or confirmation number. Four Seasons For any future arrival date, reservations (even pre-paid ones) qualify for any changes or cancellations at no charge up to 24 hours before arrival, as long as the change or cancellation is made by December 31 — which generously includes the entire 2020 holiday period. But some exclusions do apply during holidays, so check your individual rate rules when booking to confirm. Changes to any reservations will be subject to availability as well as any potential rate differences. Hilton Hotels All reservations made through September 30 can be changed or canceled at no charge, up to 24 hours before check-in date. If you're booking a new reservation now (in other words, past that cutoff date), your reservation is subject to published cancellation policies. If you are a Hilton Honors member, and cancel an advance purchase rate, you may be eligible for a free night certificate for each canceled night, to use by August 31, 2021. Hotels.com If you haven't yet made your booking, look for rates stating flexible cancellation policies. If you have already booked one that offers free cancellation, you'll get a refund for the amount that you paid. If you made a non-refundable booking, but your destination is considered inaccessible, you qualify for a full refund or a hotel voucher if you cancel at least 24 hours in advance. But that's just under those circumstances: If your destination is considered open for travel but you just want to cancel anyway, your booking's original cancellation policy applies. Hyatt Hotels New reservations booked on or after July 1 for arrival dates through July 31, 2021, can be canceled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival (with few limited exceptions), making all holiday travel flexible. Find a list of change and cancellation fee waiver exceptions online to check before booking. Some individual hotel properties may adjust this cancellation policy during high-demand periods like holidays, so review the rate rules when booking. These will show the current cancellation and deposit policies for your specific stay. Reservations can be changed or canceled on hyatt.com or via the app. Changes to existing reservations are subject to availability and possible rate differences. Note that these policies apply to reservations made directly through Hyatt directly. Online travel agents or other third parties may have different policies. InterContinental Hotel Group The hotel group offered more flexible cancellation policies due to COVID-19, but those are mainly not applicable to the 2020 holiday period because all non-refundable and pre-paid bookings from October 1 onward will be subject to the terms and conditions stated during booking. Some rates do have flexible cancellation built-in, so check your booking for the details. Langham Hotels & Resorts Langham will provide a full refund (including related fees) on cancellations for bookings as long as they're made at least 24 hours prior to arrival date. This applies for stays up to and including December 18. Outside of that window, policies differ for individual Langham hotels. If you made your booking through a third party, you'll have to contact that entity, as their policies will apply. Lowes Hotels Lowes' flexible policy allows cancellation with 24 hours notice for any new and existing reservations. Pre-paid and non-refundable reservations may not be included in this policy. Reservations made through a third party are subject to that entity's terms. Marriott Bonvoy Existing reservations for future travel are subject to the policies stated at the time of booking. Late cancellation booking may be equivalent to the room night cost. For guests with reservations made on or after July 6 for arrival dates through December 30, Marriott will allow changes or cancellations without a fee up to 24 hours before the scheduled arrival date. Pre-paid reservations and a few other exclusions will be subject to the policies stated at the time of booking, such as the responsibility to pay the nightly room rate if canceling late. Rosewood Hotels & Resorts For new individual reservations booked as of March 14, for stays through December 19, a flexible 24-hour, no-fee cancellation policy applies. Travelocity Travelocity doesn't charge its own cancellation fees, and as long as you're canceling with three days' notice of your stay, most hotels in your itinerary won't charge one either. If you need to cancel a flight within 24 hours of booking it, most airlines don't charge a fee, and neither does the online agency. Vrbo (and HomeAway) Note that Vrbo and HomeAway are now the same platform, except in name, and as such, they have the same cancellation policies. With the summer COVID-19 policies now past, the host's standard cancellation policy currently applies. It falls into three categories. The first is called Relaxed. Bookings canceled at least 14 days before the start of the stay receive a full refund. Those canceled at least seven days in advance receive a 50% refund. The next category is Moderate. Bookings canceled 30 days or more from check-in receive a full refund. Two weeks or more from check-in and guests can receive a 50% refund. The most stringent policy is Firm. Bookings canceled 60 days out receive a full refund; then guests can receive a 50% refund until 30 days before check-in. Wyndham Hotels For new or existing direct bookings, all properties are required to accommodate non-cancelable rate reservation changes without penalty if the request is received at least 48 hours prior to arrival, and the same number of room nights or more are booked for a future stay. This policy does not apply to group bookings, such as meetings or events. Guests who are prohibited from traveling to their booked hotel will have their cancellation or change penalties waived on direct bookings. Join the conversation about this story »
Post 9/11 proved even the most wary of Americans would travel again. Here's why Booking Holdings' CEO believes the same will happen after COVID-19
Summary List Placement The travel industry has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. Even as stay-at-home...Summary List Placement The travel industry has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. Even as stay-at-home orders are lifted, travel activity remains at depressed levels with people continuing to worry about safety and opting to stay put. In August, Booking Holdings — which owns Kayak, Booking.com, Priceline, Rentalcars.com, OpenTable, and Agoda — reported that gross bookings fell by 91% in the second quarter. Revenue additionally fell 84% from the same period last year to $630 million. Glenn Fogel, the company's CEO, has worked at Booking Holdings in various capacities for almost 21 years. In a recent interview with Business Insider, he said looking at how travel fared after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 is "a good analogy for today." "Each crisis, when you're in the middle of it, you're at first afraid that travel is never going to come back. Is this going to be something that's going to go on forever? And when will it stop? But after you've been through a few of these, you realize it's always going to come back," he said. He lived in Manhattan at the time of 9/11 and remembers some people uttering they would never get on a plane again. "But it wasn't that long before people started traveling again. Yes, there were changes. The security was much stronger," he said. Airlines including Delta and JetBlue are currently blocking out the middle seat to allow for social distancing on flights. An August survey found that travelers are willing to pay as much as 17% more to fly with an airline that is blocking out middle seats. Airlines are also requiring passengers to wear masks on planes, and airports have signs reminding people to stay six feet apart from each other. Meanwhile, hotels are advertising their revamped cleaning protocols to entice travelers to book a stay. Hilton, for example, partnered with Lysol maker RB and the Mayo Clinic to come up with a new set of procedures amid the pandemic. Today, Fogel is hopeful that more protections and technology will be rolled out so that people feel safer traveling. "I think people just have an innate desire to travel," Fogel said. "We're gonna take a little bit of time, but I assure you travel in a few years will be bigger than it was before this terrible epidemic." Read the full interview with Glenn Fogel here.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
The pandemic became personal when Booking Holdings' CEO caught COVID-19. Now, he's taking on Airbnb and calling on the government to save a battered travel industry.
Summary List Placement When the coronavirus began to circulate around the world, it brought travel to...Summary List Placement When the coronavirus began to circulate around the world, it brought travel to a near stand-still. For travel companies like Booking Holdings — the company that operates Kayak, Priceline, Booking.com, Rentalcars.com, OpenTable, and Agoda — it was a crisis. Booking Holdings saw the worst effects of the pandemic in the most recent quarter, reporting in August that gross bookings fell by 91%. Revenue fell 84% from the same period last year to $630 million. Business Insider spoke to Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel about what he thinks needs to happen to save the travel industry, what it was like to lead the company while contracting COVID-19 himself, and why he's not too worried about competing with Airbnb as it prepares to go public. Editor's note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. I'm wondering if we can talk a little bit about how summer looked in terms of how the industry has recovered, if it has at all. I think we all see the same numbers and we hear the same stories in the news, and the fact is that the pandemic has not left. In fact, in many parts of the world, it is the second wave, and that is detrimental to travel. People are nervous about traveling because of the pandemic. Even more so, when different governments around the world put up new types of restrictions or put back up restrictions, obviously it's negative for travel. So we are probably one of the very hardest hit industries by the pandemic. And until we get a vaccine or effective treatments, we are going to continue to have significantly decreased travel. In the summer, a lot of people were traveling or doing shorter trips to make the most of going outside and getting out where they can. How did that show up in industry trends? In the Northern Hemisphere it was summer, and after a very hard spring of lockdowns in many parts of the world, as soon as those lockdowns were lifted, people wanted to get out traveling. They did that very locally at first and then gradually expanded where they were willing to go a little bit, but it was still very much a domestic event. A huge number of countries either completely prohibit or have some sort of partial ban on people coming for tourism, and that of course has an impact on travel, even if people felt safe again. Looking forward to winter and temperatures getting a little colder, do you think that's going to erase any progress that has been made? There's always a seasonality to travel. Many times at this time of year, you begin to have a pickup in business travel that slacked off during the very high leisure months of July and August. Obviously that's not happening because there's basically no travel, but even more so, you have a case where businesses in general now are rethinking how much travel does one need to do, really. And we're definitely ourselves looking at that. I'm sure many other companies will, too. That's going to be a damper on business travel for some time going forward, even after we get a vaccine or therapeutic solution. We are primarily a leisure travel company. So while it's unfortunate for the industry to have business travel diminished, actually there is a silver lining for us in this situation because you'll end up with more empty seats on planes. You'll end up with more empty rooms in hotels. And what that then means is that the suppliers, the airlines and the hotels, will then work more closely with us because we'll be able to bring them the leisure business that they need and want. Nobody wants to do well because of a terrible event like this at all, but we will be better off than most companies that have a larger percentage of the business coming from business travel. You have almost everyone working from home right now. Do you have a timeline for when you'd want to bring more people back into the office? Yes. When it's safe. We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 offices around the world for all of our different brands. Depending on which part of the world you're in and what the events are there, there can be some that are open and there could be many more that are not. Unfortunately, just recently, we had opened two offices in Amsterdam, and now because of the resurgence of the virus in the Netherlands and in Amsterdam in particular, we have now had to close those offices again. That's always something that's unfortunate, and it's hard on people. It becomes a little bit of a yo-yo. Generally speaking, we really want to wait, make sure that it really is a safe environment for people to return to the office. Given that we're able to work okay remotely, we'll keep that going for some time. How do you think the work-from-home dynamic has affected how the company is run and your management style? I'm a people person. You can get a lot done on a video communications tool, but it's not the same as actually being with somebody. I do know, though, that we have been effective so far and people are putting in the extra effort to make sure this thing works out. But, I am greatly sympathetic to the people who are struggling with this because, for example, if you don't have a place to set aside to work, and you're in a small area with other people in a family, that can be very problematic. Then on top of that issue, just trying to create that line between work and non-work, particularly if you have a family with smaller children because small children don't necessarily respect the line between work and non-work. You said in earnings back in August that Booking would have to lay off a significant number of people, up to 25% of Booking.com's workforce. Is there an update there? We've unfortunately had to adjust the workforce for some time. We have several companies in our Booking Holdings organization and all the companies — Kayak, Priceline, OpenTable, and Agoda — have all gone through their restructurings, and Booking.com was the last brand that is going through it. We are in the midst of it. We have done our wave one notification and we are in the process of discussing with our local employee organizations. It will take some time to get through all of this, and it's something that management and the workers' representatives have to have discussions about. It's been an unbelievably tough time for the industry as a whole. As far as help for the hospitality industry, in your opinion, what else needs to be done to spark a turnaround? We really would appreciate if the governments around the world would continue to focus on helping the hospitality and tourism industry. Some of the governments around the world are doing so already. We're working with the Japanese government on a program that makes it cheaper for people there to book travel, and working with the government in Thailand and working with the government in Italy. This can be in tax credits, these can be in coupons — lots of different ways that governments are putting money to work, to help restart and rebuild the travel industry. Now in the States, there is the RESTAURANTS Act out that's over $100 billion proposed. And there are lots of discussions with the current stimulus and different legislation that's proposed and the Democrats and Republicans continue to discuss. What would be very helpful would be some type of direct stimulus to the travel industry in the form of a tax credit or a coupon program. It would be extremely helpful in sort of priming the pump to get the travel industry going again. The travel industry has a huge number of jobs that are currently at risk and many people laid off, and they may never come back if we can't get the industry going again. Of course, we'd like that only when it is safe to travel. You've been at Booking for more than 20 years now, so you've seen how the travel industry has weathered several different crises. How does this particular crisis, with the fear of traveling, compare to how the industry fared after 9/11? Each crisis, when you're in the middle of it, you're at first afraid that travel is never going to come back. Is this going to be something that's going to go on forever? And when will it stop? But after you've been through a few of these, you realize it's always going to come back. People want to travel. After 9/11 — I lived in New York at the time, in Manhattan — I remember the incredible fear and people wondering what's going to happen next. People said, "I'm never going to get on a plane ever again." But it wasn't that long before people started traveling again. Yes, there were changes. The security was much stronger. New machines came in the airports to try and scan people to see whether or not someone would be carrying something that could be dangerous on their person. And then people felt better and safer to travel more and more. That is, I think, a good analogy for today. Things will be a little different. Hopefully there'll be new technology so it will make everyone feel safer about travel, in terms of being infected. But I think people just have an innate desire to travel. We're gonna take a little bit of time, but I assure you travel in a few years will be bigger than it was before this terrible epidemic. I read that you were diagnosed with COVID back in March. One, I hope you're feeling better. What was that time like for you, having to navigate a company through this crisis, while you and your family were dealing with it yourself on a very personal level? I became ill towards the end of March. My wife was ill first. My children both also contracted the virus. We were very, very fortunate. None of us had severe, debilitating symptoms. I had a fever for two days. I had a headache for one night. I only went to get tested because my wife, who had more severe symptoms — still not severe, but more severe than me — called her doctor who had a drive-through testing unit. And then that doctor was kind enough to let me come in, even though I wasn't his patient, and our kids. If you recall, back at that time it was a big delay to get results. I actually felt much better by the time the results came back and said that I actually had the virus. The one good thing though, knowing that we had the virus, in a few weeks, we were able to go over to the blood center and they took plasma from us to be used to potentially help others, using the antibodies. So at least we felt we were contributing, hopefully, to someone else. I didn't feel scared or ill, but when I announced it to people and, you know, we had 27,000 employees, I got a lot of notes and emails from people who also had it or were afraid to let anybody know because they were afraid of any stigma. Again, this was in the early part of the pandemic in the US and Western Europe. They felt more open about discussing that they had it, and it also, I think, helped reassure them that somebody could have it and not end up in the hospital. I think in the end, it's one of those things where you just feel so lucky. Because I do know somebody who was not nearly as lucky as my family was. And you're just thankful when things are good because someday they may not be so good. Absolutely. As a company leader, knowing that everyone's dealing with a lot right now, how are you thinking about that in your approach to leading and communicating with employees? I think you've got to communicate more than you ever did before because people are nervous. They're worried about the future. You try and be as open and as candid as you can be, because people want the truth and they want to know what's happening. Even if you don't know what's going to happen, be honest and candid and say that I'm not sure yet, we're working on it, we'll come back to you as soon as we know. We've tried to do that, try and tell everybody, look, we've tried to do everything we could to preserve as many jobs as we can. We're doing everything that is possible to make sure that our organization is well-positioned for the future. It's one of those things that at least people know that you care. Because I do. Before the pandemic hit and you would prepare for worst-case scenarios, was this something that would cross Booking's mind as an event that would need to be prepared for? Don't forget — I've been here 21 years. This isn't the first time I've seen a pandemic. SARS was a very scary event, and we have operations in Asia. I was traveling, actually, during SARS. I was on a plane once to Australia, it was me and just a few other people. It was weird. And if you look at our risk factors in our publicly filed documents, we list pandemic as a risk factor. It was good that we were able to act very rapidly. We have a half dozen offices in China and one of the first things we did in January, long before there was a lot of Western news about this, we asked all of our Chinese colleagues who were scheduled to come to an annual meeting in Amsterdam not to come, because we didn't want to risk spreading what potentially was a problem. We also quickly shut down and had people in our different offices not going to work. Our IT people and so many other people were so effective in getting us throughout the world working from home quickly. If somebody had come to me and said, Glenn, I think we're going to have 27,000 people working from home, like in a couple of weeks, I'd say, what are you crazy? I'd say, we'd have to have a study. We'd have to talk about this, we'd take years. But when the crisis happened, people acted. At that time, we were getting customer service contacts in record numbers because everybody wanted to cancel or change their reservations, or just be reassured that it's okay to travel. So it's pretty remarkable what the team did, but I can't thank them enough. You'll have a customer call us and say that they were going to Italy. And they heard that Italy is shut down and they want to cancel or they can't go. So you want to talk to the hotel, but the hotel is shut down and there's nobody there you can talk to. Then what we do is we refund that customer and hopefully be able to get the money back later from the hotel. That was tens of millions of dollars that we handed out to customers that we were not legally obligated to hand out to them, but we did it because it's the right thing to do, even though we knew and still know we're not necessarily going to get all that money back because some of those hotels are going to go bankrupt and they are never going to be able to repay us. As far as how the industry is changing going forward, Airbnb has been in the news now that they're planning to go public. How are you thinking about that competition and making sure that Booking is positioned well? One of the interesting things that's happened because of this COVID crisis is it's really accelerated what was a long-term trend of people being more interested in what we call alternative accommodations, and that could be a home, condo, an apartment, instead of a standard hotel. We certainly have a very big part of the business. We have 6.7 million listings in our alternative accommodations area. When the lockdowns were dropped and people wanted to travel, a lot of them felt that they wanted to go to a home or an apartment or something on the beach. They felt perhaps that if you went to a big hotel, you hung out in the lobby or you're getting on an elevator, it wasn't as safe. We saw a large increase in demand for alternative accommodations in the second quarter — 40% of our bookings were in the form of alternative accommodations, which was a significant increase compared to the year earlier. The question that's interesting going forward is, will the acceleration of this trend continue, level off, or will some of the people who this year decided to take an alternative accommodation next year go back to hotels? We're almost indifferent because we have the largest amount of both types of products. We have the largest amount of hotels and alternative accommodations of anybody. Airbnb is a great competitor. When a customer comes to us, many times, they're not sure yet where they want to stay. By coming to us, they're able to see the largest selection of all the different properties, get all the reviews, read all the content about it, see all the different prices and then decide which one to go to. From our point of view, this just makes our site that much more valuable. And of course we think the way we do it is better than anybody, because unlike some of our competitors, we do not charge a traveler fee at the end. You know what the price is up front. The second thing is it's always instant confirmation with us. You're not going to have to go back and forth with the owner, negotiating. You get it right away, which we think is a much better way to do it. Is there anything else you want to share with us? We're not a company where we could come forward and help build ventilators, and we couldn't come forward and help make a vaccine, but we do what we can to be helpful. I was very pleased by our people at OpenTable. We were able to take our restaurant reservation service and give it away to pharmacies, supermarkets, etc., to try and spread out. You could reserve a time to do shopping, to make sure there weren't too many people in the stores. Then they took it and they offered it up to two colleges to use in their dining halls to spread out the students there. I do like the fact that we're doing what we can to be helpful here. I think what will be really helpful is that vaccine, and I'm really hopeful that comes sooner rather than later, and gets distributed as best as possible so we can all go back to what we love doing, which is traveling freely and without worry.SEE ALSO: Travel reservations have plummeted 91% and won't be back until there's a vaccine, says Booking Holdings CEO Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid