Expedia Group, the parent company of the short-term rentals platform Vrbo, tallied record revenue and profits during the third quarter of 2023, despite some challenges to Vrbo’s model.
The travel booking company recorded revenue of $3.9 billion, a 9 percent increase from the third quarter of 2022, along with $425 million in profits.
Expedia, the company that owns Vrbo, considered one of Airbnb’s biggest competitors in the vacation rental sphere, reported lodging gross bookings at $18.5 billion, an 8 percent increase from 2022 and a record high, according to an earnings report released Thursday.
“Our strong third-quarter results with record revenue and profitability came in ahead of our guidance and reflect the resilience of travel demand and continued improvements stemming from the execution of our strategy,” Expedia Vice Chairman and CEO Peter Kern said in a statement.
While it does not release specific data on Vrbo in its earnings reports, executives at the travel booking company said during a conference call that Vrbo was negatively affected both by the large-scale wildfires in Maui and a shift in consumer preference from long-term stays in vacation destinations to short-term stays in urban centers that favor hotels. The company also announced during the call it had completed a migration of Vrbo onto the same front-end stack as Expedia’s other properties.
“Lodging gross bookings grew 8 percent and were the highest per quarter on record. This acceleration would have been even higher but for our Vrbo business,” Expedia’s Chief Financial Officer Julie Whalen said during the call. “Our Vrbo business was particularly impacted by the recent Maui fires as well as the brand’s short-term migration to our single front-end stack, and the continued softness in the demand shift towards more urban areas.”
The company also announced in the same report its intention to buy back $5 million in shares from its investors and that it had completed a record $1.8 billion in share repurchases year-to-date.
“With the last of our major migrations behind us, we are now well positioned to further accelerate our business and drive stronger shareholder returns,” Kearn said.