Online travel shopping company Expedia Group announced third quarter earnings results Thursday (Nov. 4) that showed growing revenue amid continued recovery from the pandemic’s crippling effect on its travel booking business.
The company’s home-sharing platform, Vrbo, is recovering along with other segments, such as corporate and international travel, and leisure and domestic travel.
Expedia Group Vice Chairman and CEO Peter Kern told analysts during the company’s earnings call that more than half of Vrbo customers in the U.S. so far in 2021 “have been new customers,” and Expedia is expecting to make more than $2 billion in earnings from new Vrbo hosts who joined the platform this year.
“And looking ahead, we’re already seeing better bookings for next summer than we saw this time last year, so the trends continue to be quite strong there,” he said.
Other highlights from the quarter include the announcement of the upcoming merger of all the company’s loyalty programs — including Vrbo, Orbitz and Travelocity — into a single rewards program, making it easy for over 145 million members spread across all the global brands and products to book travel services.
“We think it will be the most powerful loyalty program in the industry, and we are really excited about bringing that extra usability and added value to our customers through that loyalty plan,” Kern said on the call.
Expedia also completed the sale of its corporate travel unit, Egencia, to American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) Monday (Nov. 1), indicating the company’s desire to “power Amex GBT with our Expedia Partner Solutions business, with our technology, with our supply,” Kern said, adding that it is something the company will continue to build on in the months and years ahead.
Total revenue generated during the period ($2.96 billion) increased by 97% in the quarter compared to Q3 2020, even though it was lower than booking trends for lodging, air and other travel products in the previous quarter. However, it was not far from the 2019 Q3 figure of $3.56 billion, showing the company may be emerging from the dark days of the pandemic.
On the B2B front, which is consists of Expedia’s B2B partnership brand Expedia Partner Solutions, Kern said the company is seeing lots of opportunity for businesses to build on the relationships Expedia has with its supply partners and its B2B partners, as well as “find increasing ways to drive their business and drive their success on our platform.”
Kern added that announcements of new openings to international travelers made by various countries are “early positive signs” for Q4, and the company is “feeling increasingly confident about a continued recovery.”