What’s this? Press releases, on a Saturday?

Oh yeah that’s, right, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is about to kick off (flying there myself tomorrow). And lo and behold, some of these press releases are actually worth reading.

Amsterdam-based Booking.com, which operates the world’s largest hotel booking site with 425,000 hotels and counting, has announced that it’s recorded a staggering jump in mobile bookings last year, in yet another testament of the global growth curve in mobile commerce.

In 2011, the total transaction value of mobile bookings on Booking.com was $1 billion. In 2012, it tripled, to $3 billion.

And last year, it almost tripled again, with over $8 billion in bookings from smartphones and tablets recorded in full year 2013. I wouldn’t be surprised if mobile bookings overtake desktop bookings in the near future, although unfortunately Booking.com doesn’t break things down like that.

Note that this hasn’t got anything to do with revenue, per se, but it’s a notable spike nonetheless in light of the global trend of e-commerce transactions increasingly being handled on portable devices.

Booking.com CMO Paul Hennessy attempts to explain the jump:

“The seamless booking experience across Booking.com’s mobile and desktop devices combined with the quality of our highly rated apps, has driven customers increased usage of their mobile devices.

We’re seeing a shift in consumer behaviour from simply booking last minute accommodations on mobile devices to planning, researching, booking and utilizing post booking functionality on our mobile platforms.”

Booking.com offers free native apps for iOS, Android and Windows 8, and also operates mobile sites.

Download free for iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows 8

Established in 1996 and now part of publicly-listed Priceline, Booking.com is currently available in 41 languages and offers more than 425,000 hotels and other types of accommodations in 195 countries.

The company has over 6,500 employees working in its 115+ offices located all across the globe.

A big focus for the company today is growing its business on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

In an earnings call earlier this week, as reported by Skift, Priceline CEO Darren Huston said Booking.com has 1,000 people working – and has signed just about all of the hotel chains – in the United States. On the same call, Priceline CFO Daniel Finnegan said that Booking.com will spend up to $240 million on offline advertising globally in 2014, with a chunk earmarked for the United States.

In related news, that other European online travel giant, eDreams Odigeo, is preparing to go public at a 1.5 billion euro valuation.

All images courtesy of Booking.com.