Expedia adjusts full-year guidance amid slump in Vrbo bookings

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The firm reported total lodging bookings of $21 million for the first quarter across all of its platforms.

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Vrbo parent company Expedia Group hit its earnings guidance for the first quarter of 2024 despite a slowdown in lodging bookings and a slow restart for Vrbo following a transfer to a different technology platform and a subsequent pullback in marketing, according to an earnings report released Thursday.

The firm reported total lodging bookings of $21.0 million for the first quarter across all of its platforms, which include Expedia, Vrbo and Hotels.com, a 4 percent increase from 2023. Revenue was at $2.9 billion for the quarter, an 8 percent bump from 2023.

“Our first quarter results met our guidance with a revenue and earnings beat but with less robust gross bookings,” Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern said in a statement. “However, Vrbo’s recovery following the recent re-platforming has been slower than anticipated, which has put pressure on gross bookings.”

The company registered a net loss of $135 million and adjusted net income of $29 million.

The slowdown in bookings inspired Expedia to lower its full-year guidance to single-digit top-line growth, with its margins expected to look similar to last year’s.

“Given the Vrbo drag and the rate of acceleration in B2C thus far, we are lowering our full-year guidance to a range of mid- to high-single-digit top-line growth, with margins relatively in line versus last year,” Kern said.

The company also said it plans to increase investment into the marketing of Vrbo to raise the platform’s profile.

“We had pulled back in Vrbo marketing in the second half of last year while we went through our migration,” Kern said during a conference call with investors on Thursday. “While we have been ramping that spend and the product has been improving, we have seen a slower-than-expected recovery based on this.”

The growth in bookings for the first quarter was driven primarily by hotel bookings,  which were up 12 percent during the first quarter, executives said during the call.

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