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Tripadvisor Looks to Direct-to-Consumer Offerings to Boost Business | Hotel Business
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NEEDHAM, MA—During Tripadvisor Inc.’s earnings call for the second quarter ended June 30, CEO Steve Kaufer pointed out that unique users to the website improved month to month, and also described some of the company’s new direct-to-consumer offerings.

“The second quarter was one of historic proportions given the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our business and on the travel industry. Significant year-over-year impacts persist, but we are encouraged by gradually improving trends since April,” said Kaufer. “Monthly unique users on Tripadvisor sites progressed from 33% of last year’s comparable period in April to 67% of last year’s comparable period in July. Revenue improved from 10% of last year’s periods in April and May to approximately 30% of last year’s comparable period in July. So, while Q2 was challenging, we have emerged from our industry’s darkest of days. I remain confident that, while it may take time and be uneven along the way, it will eventually fully return.”

He added, “In the meantime, we are executing well on what we can control, streamlining our operations to preserve cash, leveraging our platform’s differentiated strengths to help customers and redoubling our strategic efforts to address future opportunities and emerge from a strong position on the other side of the pandemic.”

CFO Ernst Teunissen said the company expects revenue declines will improve and EBITDA loss to narrow meaningfully in Q3 vs. Q2, adding, “We remain cautious, but we believe we have taken the necessary steps to ensure we can emerge from this pandemic in solid as well as strategic shape.”

When discussing what he called the first of a set of new direct-to consumer offerings, Kaufer said, “We’re looking at the hundreds of millions of travelers we have on our site each month, even in the middle of a pandemic, and we’re thinking to ourselves, ‘What are the other products and services that we can offer directly to the them?’ Helping them plan the trip, take a trip, get a different experience—deliver something of value to them. We’ve launched two already: One was an insurance product in partnership, so it’s insurance for the whole year as opposed to just this one trip; the other is a community of expert trip designers as almost an agency service. For those who don’t want to do it themselves, it’s a great product to be able to say, ‘I’m going on a trip to Hawaii. I’d love to talk to somebody who’s been there, who likes the things I like.’ It’s a great matchmaking service.”

Update on COVID-19 Impacts

  • Since late February, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted consumer demand for travel. In April, May and June, monthly unique users on Tripadvisor sites were approximately 33%, 45%, and 60%, respectively, of last year’s comparable period.
  • Q2 revenue of $59 million was modestly better than the company anticipated. It observed an improving monthly trend in the back half of the quarter. April and May consolidated revenue was approximately 10% of last year’s comparable period, and June revenue was approximately 20% of last year’s comparable period.
  • In Q2, the company incurred pre-tax restructuring and related reorganization costs of $33 million, which was in line with previously communicated expectations.

As of June 30, Tripadvisor had $698 million of cash and cash equivalents, a decrease of $100 million from March 31, and had $700 million of outstanding borrowings from its revolving credit facility. On May 5, the company amended its revolving credit facility to, among other things, replace the leverage ratio covenant with a minimum liquidity covenant ending prior to the fiscal quarter ending Sept. 30, 2021 (or such earlier date as elected by the company), as well as downsize its capacity to $1.0 billion from $1.2 billion.

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