They will be telling signals about where travel demand will be heading for the rest of 2022. That's why we will be closely following Alphabet and Meta's earnings calls this week.
As the earnings season, when public companies issue their quarterly results, kicks off for online travel agencies this week, we’ll be looking to see how inflation and other economic disruptions are impacting their summer and fall outlooks, and whether they have anything innovative in the works.
India’s MakeMyTrip will be one of the first online travel agencies to report their financials on Wednesday and then earnings will likely run for another couple of months as China’s Trip.com Group usually issues its numbers in late September.
Here are a few things we are looking for from the individual companies:
How Was Airbnb’s July?
Analysts expect Airbnb to report strong bookings growth for the second quarter, which ended June 30, but what will the short-term rental giant say about how things were trending in July? Did bookings growth show signs of slowing in July, as some expect?
Airbnb commentary on how its bookings are faring so far in the third quarter will send its share price up or down.
Also, will Airbnb mention its mid-quarter search category expansion, and whether this disrupted operations, as many hosts on social media insist?
Will Tripadvisor’s New CEO Tip His Hand About Strategy?
Tripadvisor has its first new CEO, Matt Goldberg, in more than two decades. During his first earnings call as Tripadvisor’s new boss, investors will look to see if he moves ahead with a potential plan to spin out activities aggregator Viator and also possibly dining reservations platform TheFork, or are those moves on hold now because of adverse market conditions?
What will Goldberg say about Tripadvisor Plus, the company’s subscription discount service, or any strategy to reenergize the company’s core hotel metasearch business?
Did Booking Holdings Pick Up Market Share?
Did Booking Holdings gain ground on some of its rivals during the quarter, as some reports indicated, and how severe was the impact to the company from the euro’s fall in relation to the dollar?
What has been the progress on CEO Glenn Fogel’s signature connected trip strategy?
Did Expedia Group’s Vacation Rental Unit Keep the Momentum Going?
Some leisure-oriented vacation rental companies are downsizing or reporting a soft outlook for bookings in the fall. Given that backdrop, has Vrbo, which has been the strongest brand in the Expedia Group portfolio, been able to maintain the upbeat pace it established in 2020 and 2021?
Will there be an update on Expedia’s progress in re-platforming the company, and trying to lean into the business-to-business portion of its operations?
Now that there are flight-price notifications in the Expedia app, will the company disclose plans to begin offering a flight-price freeze or other fintech or insurance-oriented products?
Is Sonder Making Progress After Restructuring?
Sonder restructured in June, eliminating 20 percent of its corporate jobs, as it vowed to tamp down growth to get to cash-flow positive in 2023. Other than the layoffs, has the company made progress on limiting its cash burn?
In the interim: the market hasn’t given Sonder a vote of confidence: Its shares finished trading Friday at less than $1, namely $0.97 per share.
What is Sonder’s outlook heading into the fall and winter?
Can Vacasa Get Its House in Order?
Vacasa axed 25 sales jobs, and read the riot act to much of its sales team that they need to up their deals pace after what one source said was a problematic integration of Salesforce software several months ago.
With its valuation pummeled and now hovering at a little more than $1 billion, do Vacasa executives regret its stock market debut in December, and having now to make overtures to bend toward profitability inside the public glare?
How will Vacasa manage to hit the accelerator on supply acquisition, namely signing up additional homes, when its sales efforts seem to be struggling? Will it lean into portfolio acquisitions, which bring their own set of issues?
How Did Trivago Calibrate Its Marketing Spend?
Trivago launched some TV campaigns in certain markets in May, and vowed to lean into or out of brand or performance marketing spend depending on various factors such as demand.
So what were the demand trends for Trivago during the quarter and how did they impact marketing spend?
Is Trivago making any progress on its business model shift in taking its own bookings for weekend getaways, and is there anything of significance to report about its relatively new foray into business-to-business partnerships?
Did MakeMyTrip’s Partnerships Help Expansion Into Smaller Cities?
MakeMyTrip launched a payments and fintech partnership with PhonePe in April on top of its exclusive partnership in India with Amazon for flights.
Both partnerships fit in with MakeMyTrip’s goal to increase market share by burrowing further into so-called tier 3 and tier 4 cities. Will MakeMyTrip shed light on progress on these fronts, as well as how inflation may be affecting its outlook for the rest of the calendar year?
Did MakeMyTrip debut or test any new fintech products during the quarter?
Lastminute.com Faces Fraud Probe
We hope Lastminute.com, formerly known as Bravofly Rumbo Group, will have something to say about the Covid-relief fraud probe that has ensnared top executives.
Beyond that investigation, in which the Swiss have frozen around $7 million in Lastminute.com accounts, it will be interesting to see how both the Russia-Ukraine war and the weakness of the euro have impacted the company’s operations.
Is Lastminute.com’s packaged holiday business still showing strength?
As part of its announcement Monday to appoint and interim CEO an to conduct a search for a permanent boss, Lastminute.com said Monday it has plenty of cash, EUR 200 million through end of June (despite Swiss authorities freezing $7 million in their Covid relief corruption probe).
The company expects Q2 profitability to reach pre-pandemic levels.
Does Despegar Have a Shield From North America’s Inflationary Pressures?
Despegar CEO Damian Scokin said in mid-June that the company was not seeing worries about inflation crimping travel demand in Latin America, as was the concern in North America, adding: “Remember that the Southern hemisphere is still catching up on travel demand vis-a-vis the Northern hemisphere, so there’s still ample room for growth, and we are seeing that.”
Is that still the case?
Does Trip.com Group Have Any Optimism About a Domestic Travel Recovery?
The pandemic has undoubtably rocked Trip.com Group, like or more so than many others, but we’ll be looking to see if company executives express any optimism about a domestic travel recovery in the short-term?
Meanwhile, will there be any signal about when Chinese travelers will again be able to travel beyond their own borders?
Is There Something Wrong With Flight Centre’s Business Model?
Flight Centre said it expects to notch a loss for the financial year that ended June 30 of $125-$132 million, and that would beat its prior guidance.
Still, the Australia-based travel agency closed some 800 brick-and-mortar travel agencies in 2020.
Given the scale of those sorts of cuts, shouldn’t the company show a quicker turnaround?
Note: This story has been updated to include additional information about Lastminute.com Group and Flight Centre.
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Photo credit: How is demand for summer travel? A beach scene in Finland July 21, 2022. Flickr shorturl.at/fIX13