Expedia CEO: 'Road to full travel recovery remains bumpy'

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Expedia CEO: 'Road to full travel recovery remains bumpy'

While the company saw 'continued improvement in many global travel segments, Chief Executive Officer Peter Kern offered a cautionary note for the near future.

'Unfortunately, the road to full travel recovery remains bumpy until more of the world is vaccinated. Kern said in a statement Thursday of the company's quarterly results. Shares fell about 6% in New York after closing at $161.69. The stock has gained 22% this year.

Expedia said in the second quarter sales more than tripled to $2.11 billion and gross bookings increased to $20.8 billion. Both performed below analysts' estimates, and beat estimates. The company reported an adjusted loss of $169 million, or $1.13 a share, from $577 million, or $4.09 a share, one year earlier in the period ended June 30. Analysts, on average, estimated a loss of 65 cents a share.

The spread of the delta variant reduced travel in July compared with June, spurred a rise in cancellation rates and 'there remains a bunch of unknowns across the globe, Kern said in an international conference after the results were released.

Expedia has a hand in many sectors of the travel industry that continue to be hit by the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic, including flights, hotel bookings and car rentals. While U.S. domestic travel remains largely increased, international travel remains stifled and the surging delta variant has raised further doubts. Booking Holdings Inc., the largest online travel agency, said Wednesday that the pace of travel in Europe showed the largest increase in the second quarter and the trend was expected to continue during the current period.

Kern said he was confident the industry would rebound because 'there is so much pent up demand, but it's difficult to assess how much will happen in the current quarter.

Expedia's rival to Airbnb Inc. Vrbo helped the company weather the pandemic as travelers, especially in the U.S. sought remote vacations and regional work getaways. Kern said a'real difference is coming on the Vrbo side of the business. Although the company doesn't disclose Vrbo metrics, the CEO said that it benefited from strong vacation rental performance for the quarter.