Expedia Group, the Seattle-based online travel giant, posted improved results for the second quarter, but cautioned that the resurgence of the pandemic is complicating the recovery of the global travel industry, and its business as a result.
The company’s net loss of $301 million for the second quarter was an improvement over its loss of $753 million a year ago. Adjusted earnings per share were $1.13, exceeding analyst expectations of 60 cents per share.
Revenue for the quarter more than tripled from last year to $2.1 billion, reflecting ongoing signs of recovery for the global travel industry. That compares to revenue of $2.9 billion in the second quarter of 2019, prior to the pandemic.
Gross bookings rose to $20.8 billion, up from $2.7 billion a year ago, but still well below its $28.3 billion in bookings two years ago.
Expedia Group includes travel brands such as vrbo, Orbitz, Hotwire, Trivago, Hotels.com, and Egencia in addition to the flagship Expedia.com.
Despite seeing progress in the second quarter, the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and lower vaccine rates in some parts of the world are creating new challenges, said Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern on a call with investors and analysts. Highlights from his comments:
Expedia saw improvement in the overall market and in its business in the second quarter in North America and the U.S., particularly in domestic travel and vacation rentals.
Improvement in international travel, corporate travel, and big city travel was “relatively muted, comparatively,” Kern said.
However, travel has cooled off in July, following the close of the quarter. “There’s a lot of unknowns, including in the U.S., and we’re starting to see some of that percolate through cancellation rates and more volatility in the numbers,” Kern said.
Kern expressed optimism that global travel will ultimately recover from the pandemic.
“We believe that as vaccines continue to roll out across the globe, that will bring greater security and greater comfort and greater willingness to travel,” he said. “But the road may still be bumpy for a while, as we watch all the variants play out and various government responses to them.”
Expedia Group on Thursday announced a marketing promotion for its apps to raise up to $12 million for UNICEF’s vaccination efforts in low-income countries