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Expedia suffers ‘major reduction in business’ as Q1 gross bo…

Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern said the company “suffered a major reduction in business” due to the COVID-19 outbreak during the first quarter as the global pandemic put a halt on travel.

The Seattle company reported its first quarter earnings Wednesday, posting earnings per share of -$1.83 on revenue of $2.2 billion, down 15% year-over-year. Analysts expected earnings per share of -$1.23 and revenue of $2.2 billion.

Gross bookings, the total retail value of transactions conducted through Expedia Group’s platform, were down 39% to $17.9 billion. Expedia Group includes brands and sites such as Vrbo, Travelocity, Orbitz, HomeAway and many others, in addition to the flagship Expedia.com.

Travel companies across the industry are getting crushed by the pandemic as business stalls. Expedia responded by raising $3.2 billion in debt and equity last month. It also made additional cutbacks including employee furloughs and executive salary reductions, and named Kern, a longtime board member, as its new CEO.

Kern had been overseeing the company’s operations with Chairman Barry Diller since the ouster of former CEO Mark Okerstrom and CFO Alan Pickerill in December.

“I am confident we are truly resetting our company and how we do business for the future,” Kern said in a statement Wednesday. “While we cannot control how and when travel recovers, we know it will come back, and when it does, we will emerge as a much stronger company.”

Expedia laid off 12% of its workforce in February before the novel coronavirus had spread globally. The company also moved into a sprawling new Seattle waterfront headquarters this past fall.

Expedia stock was up 2% in after-hours trading.


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