Seattle-based online travel giant Expedia Group posted better-than-expected results for the second quarter, saying demand for travel was strong despite the uncertain economy and the lingering effects of COVID-19 around the world.
- Revenue was $3.2 billion, up more than 50% vs. the second quarter last year, and up 1% from 2019, the last comparable quarter before the pandemic.
- Adjusted earnings were $1.96 per share, vs. a loss of $1.13 per share a year ago. Wall Street expected earnings of $1.58 per share and $3 billion in revenue.
- Gross bookings were $26.1 billion, up 26% from $20.8 billion a year ago.
- Net loss was $185 million, vs. a loss of $301 million a year earlier.
The company continued the transition of its online travel brands to a single platform, focusing most recently on moving Hotels.com to the Expedia tech stack, Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern told analysts on a conference call.
“We accelerated this over the last two quarters because the benefits of being able to optimize across our largest two (online travel agency) brands on the same stack are massive,” Kern said. However, he acknowledged, “migrations generally disrupt customer patterns, and can impact conversion in the short term,” adding that the company had to “make some choices to prioritize speed over perfection.”
The Hotels.com front-end migration is nearly complete, which is “freeing up engineers who can now turn their attention to optimizing the full stack,” Kern said, calling it an example of the company deciding “to trade modest short-term disruption for significant long term growth.”
Headquartered on the Seattle waterfront, Expedia Group includes travel brands such as vrbo, Orbitz, Hotwire, Trivago, Hotels.com, and Egencia in addition to the flagship Expedia.com.
Kern cited Expedia Group’s newly unified loyalty program as part of a larger effort to improve customer retention.
“Traffic has never been an issue in travel; it’s always been a question of retention,” he said. “We mean to, once and for all, change that dynamic by providing a product and set of services worthy of customer loyalty. And ultimately, we intend to spend much less of our time and money chasing them over and over again in the wild.”
Shares rose more than 5% in extended trading after the earnings report.