Expedia Group Inc. predicted a “brighter year ahead,” saying the omicron variant’s impact on travel was not as severe as prior COVID-19 variants.
Expedia Group’s EXPE, +0.29% total gross bookings were $17.5 billion in the fourth quarter, up 131% year over year but down 25% from the previous year. According to the company, this was the lowest quarterly decline last year when compared to pre-pandemic levels.
“The travel industry and traveling public prove more resilient with each passing wave, and we continue to expect a solid overall recovery in 2022, barring a change in the trajectory of the virus,” Expedia Chief Executive Peter Kern said in a statement. On the company’s earnings call, he said “the world has gotten accustomed to the pandemic” and that it will “perhaps enter an endemic stage.”
On the results conference, Chief Financial Officer Eric Hart stated that overall bookings were down 27% in December compared to 2019, recovered to down 11% in January, and were “up vs. 2019 in the most recent weeks,” providing a more thorough assessment of the company’s recovery.
Kern also stated that the tourism rebound has varied by location and that because certain major cities and foreign locations have not recovered as rapidly as others, he expects Expedia to gain further when these locations recover.
The travel-booking giant posted a net income of $276 million in the fourth quarter or $1.06 per share adjusted for stock-based compensation and other costs, compared to the loss of $412 million, or $2.64 a share, the previous year. The company’s revenue rose to $2.28 billion from $920 million in the year-ago quarter.
Expedia stock is up 9.3 percent year to date, compared to the S&P 500 Index SPX, -1.81%, which is down 5.5%.