Expedia, the online travel giant based that operates HomeAway, Orbitz and Travelocity, reported on Thursday that its revenue increased 42 percent during the first quarter to $1.9 billion as its operating loss doubled to $102 million. The company posted a 32 percent increase in gross bookings, adding 13,000 properties to its lodging portfolio. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization came in at $177 million, up 31 percent.
In a conference call with analysts, Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called it a “solid start” to the year with financial results that were a “bit better than expected.” Shares of Expedia jumped more than 11 percent in after hours trading, with shares topping $119 per share.
Expedia finished the quarter with cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term investments of $2.1 billion. It also recognized $30 million in restructuring and reorganization charges tied to its previously announced acquisitions.
Khosrowshahi said that recent moves by Expedia have positioned it well for the future as the leading online travel provider, with the executive saying that the teams “are motivated, excited and hungry” and that they are all up for the challenge.
Expedia completed its $3.9 billion acquisition of HomeAway last December, and Khosrowshahi said that they are learning a lot from the Airbnb competitor in terms of alternative lodging. He also announced an update to HomeAway sites during the call.
“On a go-forward basis we are going to simplify the subscription product which is going to take away some of the premium tiers that we had sold previously, and that’s going to be a revenue negative,” he said, “…we are taking some of the revenue out of the system, which we have to replace with transactions.”
HomeAway sites have traditionally relied on homeowner subscription revenue. Since the Expedia acquisition, the vacation rentals company has been shifting its focus to profits generated by bookings. As part of that shift, HomeAway introduced a travelers fee, in line with AirBnB’s existing practice.
In today’s conference call, Khosrowshahi said “we’re trying to actually not think too many big thoughts here” as it relates to alternative accommodations.
“The main activity is behind HomeAway, and the HomeAway team has incredible knowledge of the homeowners and the managers and what they need, and has built up an incredible toolset there,” he said. “And we want to combine that knowledge, with the kind of knowledge that we have on the Hotels.com and Expedia side as far as what travelers want, and when you combine those two, you can create a pretty powerful platform.”
He said the HomeAway team is executing very well on the plan, and a bunch of technical and design work is being done right now to make sure the two entities combine in a smart way.
Here’s more from Khosrowshahi:
Over the past several years we’ve positioned Expedia Inc to be the most comprehensive travel distribution platform that the world has ever seen. We’ve organically built unrivaled geographic reach and awareness for our flagship brands, Expedia and Hotels.com, we’ve invested billions of dollars in our technology platforms and established Expedia Inc. at the forefront of product and technology innovation in the travel industry, an advantage we’ll continue to press for years to come. Like many industry disruptors, we’ve not only invested to creating and offering superior price transparency, selection, ease of use, and value for our travelers but we’ve also been systematically reducing the cost of distribution for our travel supply partners.
GeekWire’s Monica Nickelsburg contributed to this report.