Expedia Loss Much Smaller Than Forecasts

The Internet travel site Expedia Inc. on Monday posted a loss for the quarter that was much smaller than Wall Street forecasts and said its sales almost doubled as it continued to convert visitors to customers.
The service, which helps travelers plan vacations and book hotels and flights, reported a loss before various items, of $2.6 million or six cents per share, compared with a loss last year of $10.3 million or 26 cents per share.
Including non-cash stock-based compensation costs and amortization of goodwill and intangibles, Expedia posted a net loss of $25.3 million or 53 cents per share in the latest quarter, compared with a net loss in the year ago quarter of $43 million or $1.07 a share.
It said its revenues increased to $80 million from $44 million in the year-ago quarter.
Expedia President Richard Barton said in a statement that the company increased its customer conversion rate from 4.8 percent to six percent over the course of the second quarter, meaning that more of the surfers who browsed the site were ending up buying something on it.
“The strong progress we`ve made ... is the result of our continued focus on delivering the most powerful shopping tools to our customers,” he said.
Barton said that a new Expert Searching and Pricing service to assist customers in locating the cheapest fares had helped drive traffic to the site.
The company said its gross travel bookings during the quarter totaled $475 million, 90 percent higher than last year. Merchant revenues, representing the full retail value of transactions completed on the site, increased 81 percent to $47 million. Agency revenues, covering transaction commissions were up 95 percent to $24 million.