Expedia signals green shoots in May as travel booking cancellations stabilise

Expedia said it secured US$3.95 billion in funding, including US$1.20 billion in preferred equity investments from Apollo Global Management and Silver Lake. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BENGALURU (REUTERS) - Online travel booking company Expedia Group on Wednesday (May 20) pointed to demand recovering in May as cancellation rates stabilise, overshadowing a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss and sending its shares up nearly 4 per cent.

US airlines have signalled slower ticket cancellations and an improvement in bookings on some routes, as countries ease lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus that had crippled the global travel industry.

"What we've seen is green shoots in the areas you would expect, places where movement has become possible, where people can now start to think about their summer holiday," a company executive said on a post-earnings conference call.

Expedia said it was seeing strength in its vacation rental business, Vrbo, as people look to get away in the summer after being forced to stay at home.

Bookings for online travel agencies will fall about 60 per cent in the third quarter, compared with a more than 80 per cent plunge in the prior quarter, according to SunTrust analyst Naved Khan.

Expedia also said it secured US$3.95 billion (S$5.59 billion) in funding, including US$1.20 billion in preferred equity investments from Apollo Global Management and Silver Lake.

In the first quarter, gross bookings tumbled 39.2 per cent to US$17.89 billion.

Net loss attributable to Expedia was US$1.30 billion, or US$9.24 per share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with US$103 million, or 69 US cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company posted a loss of US$1.83 per share, compared with the average analyst estimate of a loss of US$1.23, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.