Booking.com ($NASDAQ:BKNG) and its web of subsidiaries have turned the travel services website into a cash cow for investors -  but now job-listings data shows it lagging behind competitors. 

Booking.com's job postings web site - which carries more postings than the companies subsidiaries - has seen a precipitous plunge in postings over the second quarter, with earnings on the way this week - 36% fewer postings, judging by the company's alternative data. Booking.com will report earnings August 7 and analysts are looking for EPS $22.80 per share. Top Booking.com competitors Expedia ($NASDAQ:EXPE) and TripAdvisor ($NASDAQ:TRIP) aren't sharing in the trend - TripAdvisor, in particular, has seen a sharp rise in job postings throughout the quarter. 

Further, Expedia - not shown - also recorded an increase in job postings of 10% in the second quarter. 

Often, job postings translate to growth, even stock performance, and shares' rise are foreshadowed by a rise in hiring. But, especially with travel services, this rule goes out the window. TripAdvisor shares are down 22% so far year to date - but, the company's job postings rose 20% in the second quarter alone, part of a year-long trend that flies in the face of its share prices. 

But it's a little too early to believe the sky is falling at Booking.com. The company's subsidiaries include OpenTable, Kayak, RentalCars.com and - of course - Agoda, which focuses on Asian markets. And, some of them, are flashing positive data trends - like Agoda, our final chart. Still - shares are only up 3% this year, and lagging market benchmarks in 2019. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Amazon accelerates hiring for Amazon Air as it looks to sidestep UPS, Kalitta, and FedEx

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