In the third quarter, Booking.com reported having 21% more global alternative accommodations listings than it reported having in the same quarter last year, and the company hinted at plans to invest in gaining more traction in the U.S. alternative accommodations market.

"Definitely, we grew quite fast in the past 12 months," said vice president Olivier Gremillon, who leads Booking.com's strategy in homes and apartments. "There are a lot of different ways to look at the industry, but if you look at the different big players -- whether it's HomeAway with its different brands or Airbnb -- we have more supply than they have."

Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel last week released the company's latest figures in a financial earnings call: As of Sept. 30, Booking.com had 5.7 million alternative accommodations listings, contributing to a total of about 29 million listings.

"Our room-night growth in alternative accommodations remains robust and is higher than our consolidated growth rate," Fogel said.

Booking.com's biggest competitors in the U.S. market are Airbnb and HomeAway. An Airbnb spokesman confirmed the company has "5 million-plus" listings. HomeAway, owned by Expedia Group, has about 1.8 million online-bookable listings, more than 300,000 of which are integrated on its core OTA platform, according to its most recent financial results.

Expedia CEO Mark Okerstrom admitted that the company is "very much in the early stages here" compared with its competitors.

Gremillon told Travel Weekly that Booking.com has been in the alternative accommodations space for about 10 years, "speeding things up in the past couple of years." In recent months, the company has introduced new tools for its "casual" host as well as for property management professionals.

Booking.com's roots in the alternative accommodations space are with professional vacation rental managers, he said, differing from competitors who initially focused on secondary homeowners.

"We are all slightly different, and we all have strengths in different regions," Gremillon said.

Booking.com offers a large amount of both traditional and alternative accommodations on one platform, he said, adding that he considers its scale to be a differentiator in today's alternative accommodations market.

Gremillon admitted that Booking.com is stronger in Europe than it is in the U.S.

"The U.S. is a big focus market for us, both in the supply and on the demand side," he said. "You might have seen some of the marketing we've been doing, like TV commercials where we actually showcase more and more of our homes and apartments just to be able to raise awareness about the fact that Booking.com is not only about hotels but also about other types of accommodations. We are pushing, definitely, on different fronts."

Most people who use Booking.com in the U.S. find out it lists alternative accommodations once they are already visiting the site, Gremillon said, so the company's goal is to further educate consumers about Booking.com's variety of listings.

In the financial results call, Fogel also said he believes offering so many hotels and alternative accommodations on a single platform is one of Booking.com's strengths, but he echoed Gremillon's sentiments about awareness.

"Customer awareness of our capabilities, particularly in certain geographies like the United States, is low and will require a higher marketing investment in the coming quarters," Fogel said. "However, we believe we are on the right path, and in the long run, will achieve a leading global home business."

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