EXPEDIA REVENUE DOWN 82% AS COVID-19 HAMMERS TRAVEL Comments Off on EXPEDIA REVENUE DOWN 82% AS COVID-19 HAMMERS TRAVEL 541

By Olivia Carville Bloomberg

Expedia Group’s whopping 82% decline in revenue in the second quarter has laid bare the devastation the coronavirus has wreaked on the travel sector. Shares dipped as much as 4.8% in post-market trading.

The Seattle-based online travel giant reported total gross bookings of $2.71 billion for the three-month period ended June 30, a decline of 90% from the same period a year earlier. Revenue fell to $566 million — the lowest it’s been in about a decade — and missed Wall Street’s already reduced expectations of $680 million for the quarter. The adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $436 million, missing average analyst estimates of a $288 million loss.

“The second quarter of 2020 represented likely the worst quarter the travel industry has seen in modern history and Expedia was of course not spared,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Kern said in a statement. He also said that after hitting a low point in April, the company saw gross bookings improve slightly in May and June as cancellations abated.

Vrbo, Expedia’s vacation rental unit, led that tentative recovery as antsy city dwellers have started exploring the mountains, lakes and national parks within driving distance of their homes. Domestic vacation rentals are the one segment of the travel industry that’s bouncing back, however Kern acknowledged it will be “a bumpy and inconsistent recovery” for the entire sector.

On a conference call with analysts Thursday, executives said Expedia has seen air travel bounce back faster in the U.S. than in Europe, and said domestic vacation rentals will likely lead the recovery. 

Expedia had been struggling in the months leading up to the pandemic, as competition ramped up from startups like Airbnb and the choke-hold on advertising from companies like Alphabet’s Google began to sting. The board ousted the former chief executive late last year and cut 3,000 jobs in February. Kern, then vice chairman, was appointed as the new CEO in April. That same month, Expedia announced it was raising $3.2 billion to withstand COVID-19 impacts. Other rivals were also scrambling to survive: TripAdvisor and Airbnb each wound up eliminating about a quarter of their workforce, while Booking Holdings was forced to apply for government aid.

Global coronavirus lockdowns varied in severity and timing, but the pandemic shut down much of the U.S. starting in mid-March, affecting only the tail end of Expedia’s first-quarter sales. The second-quarter results represent the first time Expedia has reported the full force of COVID-19 on its bottom line.

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Mauritius B2B Hospitality magazine, a quarterly publication and blog for the industry professionals. Want to reach the hospitality decision makers in Mauritius/Rodrigues? Contact us +230 57 94 64 37 or [email protected]

THE FUTURE OF THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR POST COVID-19 Comments Off on THE FUTURE OF THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR POST COVID-19 379

As the hospitality industry resumes operations, it has been the moment to adapt, redesign and implement new ways and ideas to help the sector accelerate recovery and reinvent the hospitality of tomorrow.

What are the most prominent trends in hospitality today and what will the new customers’ demands be? How are hotels adapting their business operations to receive travellers and go back to business but still remaining sustainable? What are the best ways to gain guests’ confidence back? What is the role of technology in the process? These and more topics will be discussed in this webinar on the future of the hospitality sector post COVID-19, focusing in the Middle East region.

Source – https://www.unwto.org/event/the-future-of-the-hospitality-sector-post-covid-19

THE MALDIVES, MAURITIUS, SRI LANKA, WHO IS DOING WHAT TO RESTORE TRAVEL CONFIDENCE ACROSS THE INDIAN OCEAN Comments Off on THE MALDIVES, MAURITIUS, SRI LANKA, WHO IS DOING WHAT TO RESTORE TRAVEL CONFIDENCE ACROSS THE INDIAN OCEAN 666

After the recent round of short interviews with hospitality leaders in the Maldives, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka, these were the key messages that will win customers back. 

MALDIVES – No social distancing, but a rather physical distancing in the Maldives.

One month ago the Maldives reopened the country borders to international travelers and since then, welcomed nearly 4500 tourists mainly from the UK, USA, UAE, Germany, Swiss, and Russia. With strict health and safety standard procedures implemented across the country, starting from the airport to the resort islands, the ‘new travelers’ have already voiced their appreciation for the level of care and hygiene on various social media and forums. But if being welcomed by the resort representatives wrapped in PPE and armed with face shield, gloves, and masks might not feel like the most relaxing start of a much-needed holiday, Afeef Hussain, Regional Director at LUX* Resorts in the Maldives, reassures that guests do love the feeling of safety 

“Being able to arrive at the resort and start enjoying their vacation right away not having to worry about anything, is what our guests want”

Together with high levels of hygiene, another key element to restoring travel confidence is the value of the experience. Afeef Hussain shares that the ‘new travelers’ are not going to spend the same amount of money they used to. Therefore, the value of the vacation is under great scrutiny and determines whether your customer might decide to return to your hotel or to travel somewhere else. 

“There is no such thing of ‘new normal’, but rather a ‘new mindset’”

To ensure that each action taken to uphold the hygiene standards at the resorts is mutually beneficial, Afeef says that whatever is done for the guests, is also done for the team members. This ensures their wellbeing and wellness and translates the Company’s core message of ‘care’ into action.

SRI LANKA – Borders are closed, but our resorts are not.

Sri Lanka has recently delayed the opening of the country borders, but hotels and resorts across the island are back in business with the local market. The execution of health and safety standards at each property has been instrumental to restore a domestic travel confidence, says Arjuna Perera – Sales Manager at Theme Resorts & SPA based in Colombo. To start with, Arjuna Perera and his team produced a video message to show all the procedures and reassure their customer base. 

‘We immediately created a survey, to help understand what are our customers’ priorities at this critical time’ 

But, as we know, the local market demand alone does not cover it. A voucher system propelled by Arjuna’s sales team successfully generated over 1000 room nights. This shows that flexibility is another key factor to encourage travel demand. Flights can be canceled or delayed, quarantine systems are changing by the day. ‘All we need is a bit of flexibility’ says Arjuna ‘and the results are showing us that people are keen to travel, they just want to feel safe’. 

But how do we ensure social distancing in Sri Lanka? For Theme Resorts & Spa, more than distancing, we talk about isolation, but in a good way. The nature experience of some of their properties is guaranteed to the point that to reach some of their glamping sites, you will have to be picked up by the hotel concierge somewhere in the jungle.

MAURITIUS – A contactless experience and smart use of technology.

As Mauritius prepares to reopen borders next month, the health & safety checklist of the destination seems to grow longer.

The use of technology, however, plays a key role in the destination, currently undergoing a digital transformation with a brand new website, a travel platform in the making and a range of digital solutions for tourists. Airline and travel industry expert Youvraj Seeam, based in Mauritius, shares that to pick up on travel confidence, we first have to observe the consumers’ changing behaviors and thereafter understand the new demands.

“For this to be truly successful, we need collaboration with all the stakeholders across the industry”

Youvraj shares that tools like the Travel Recovery Insights Portal of ARC & Boston Consulting, the McKinsey Travel Pulse, or the Traveller Trends Tracker by Adara must be on top of today’s agenda for the modern marketer. This would enable industry leaders to have more visibility and start making progress along the way.

Based on his experience in the airline industry, the key message needs to revolve around hygiene standards and procedures from the moment the traveler checks-in, boards the plane and reaches the destination. Once arrived, says Youvraj, a contactless experience needs to be in place to ensure a safe transit until the guest ultimately reaches the hotel.

 About the author:

Dolores Semeraro is a multilingual professional speaker and trainer, fluent in the Chinese language. She provides strategic direction and training courses to companies and tourism institutions helping them to speak today’s digital language of their audience. Her vision is to create a sustainable digital connection between travel industry stakeholders and their desired customers.