Original article found on bloomberg
Expedia Group Inc. followed its peers in the online travel industry in witnessing a staggering decline in business since the spread of the coronavirus, with total gross bookings down 39% in the first quarter.
The Seattle-based company reported total gross bookings of $17.89 billion, including a decline of as much as 90% in the second half of March as the pandemic took hold. Revenue fell 15% to $2.21 billion, its first quarterly drop in eight years. The adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $76 million, or 1.83 a share, compared with a loss of 27 cents a year earlier. Analysts had projected a loss of $1.45 a share on $2.11 billion in sales.
The shares were up about 2% in extended trading in New York after closing at $79.58.
Expedia withdrew its full-year forecast in March as lockdowns began to halt flights and travel around the world. The company had already been struggling, cutting 3,000 jobs in February to simplify what had become a “bloated organization,” as it faced increasing pressure from Google in advertising and nimble startups such as Airbnb Inc. As part of the company revamp, Peter Kern took over as chief executive officer in April. At the same time, Expedia announced it was raising $3.2 billion as the impact of the coronavirus began to weigh on the industry.
Airbnb and TripAdvisor Inc. cut a quarter of their workforces and Booking Holdings Inc. has been forced to apply for government aid.
“If there was an industry on the front lines bearing the full impact of coronavirus, I would say it’s travel,” said Naved Khan, an analyst at Suntrust Robinson Humphrey Inc. “It is one of the sectors that has been hurt the most and is likely to lag during the recovery because until there is a vaccine people will limit their travel activities.