Expedia sees revenue slump but offers positive long-term view

Expedia saw revenue fall 15 per cent, to US$2.2 billion, during the first quarter of financial 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic took a huge toll on the company.

The travel giant saw room night bookings fall 14 per cent, though this partly offset by a five per cent increase in the value of bookings per room.

Bookings for air travel fell 56 per cent, which the company said was caused by a 41 per cent fall in the value of per ticket, and a 26 per cent decline in the number of tickets sold.

In total, the company lost US$258 million over the period.

“Like all travel companies, Expedia Group suffered a major reduction in business since the onset of Covid-19,” said Expedia chief executive, Peter Kern.

“Fortunately, we were ahead of the game having implemented cost savings measures earlier this year, and with the added pressure from Covid-19 we accelerated and expanded our ambition on improving our long-term cost structure.”

Expedia said it would cut around 3,000 jobs in February.

Kern added: “We also raised significant additional capital, to further strengthen our liquidity position as we navigate this disruption and position the business for recovery.”

For the first quarter of 2020, total gross bookings decreased 39 per cent at Expedia.

In January, gross bookings growth was positive, as Covid-19 modestly impacted results, with the virus largely limited to the Asia Pacific region.

In February, gross bookings declined year over year as the virus spread, particularly into Europe by later in the month.

During March, with COVID-19 becoming a global pandemic, including significantly impacting North America, our largest region, cancellations exceeded new bookings, and total gross bookings were negative for the month.

Johanna Bonhill-Smith, tourism Analyst at GlobalData, observed there might be some green shoots looking ahead.

She said: “Vrbo, Expedia Group’s vacation rental business, has noted an uptick in bookings for May and this is not surprising.

“Vacation rentals offer travellers a wider array of options across more rural areas away from large groups of people and concentrated city centres.

“A hotel can also offer this, but vacation rentals may have an upper hand.

“Social distancing and hygiene measures will be the game changers for the future travel industry leading to more independent travellers.

“While it is clear there is still a long, winding road ahead for the spread of COVID-19, online travel agents are undoubtedly at an advantage over the traditional in-store travel agent; incorporating a variety of services for a range of customers provides the opportunity for a swifter recovery.”

Source : Breakingtravelnews