For travelers looking to book a flight or hotel room, Booking.com and Expedia.com look a lot alike. Yet the two fared very differently when the coronavirus pandemic shut down travel, thanks to different strategies behind their websites.
The cash imbalance illustrates how differently the two rivals operated their online travel services. Expedia often collected cash upfront from hotel travelers, and when those customers canceled, the company had to pay them back. By contrast, Booking didn’t charge upfront as often for hotel stays, so had less to refund when cancellations occurred.