With slowing growth in the company’s Vrbo short-term rental business, Expedia Group Inc. missed estimates for its first-quarter revenues. The travel company’s sales were $2.61 billion compared to the Street’s estimates of $2.69 billion, Bloomberg reported.
Vrbo’s revenue growth was 14 percent compared to 20 percent last quarter. In addition, gross bookings reached $4.16 billion (a 5 percent increase from the year prior.) Expedia finished the quarter with over 1.1 million properties through its core platform, encompassing roughly 460,000 integrated Vrbo listings.
The company is looking to revamp its short-term rental business, according to the report, beginning with the change of the division’s name from HomeAway to Vrbo. It also reportedly plans to dedicate additional resources to Vrbo by re-branding existing sites and rolling out new websites. Expedia Chief Executive Officer Mark Okerstrom said, according to the report, “Through a phased roll-out, we will gather the data we need to determine how to best introduce Vrbo to the world.”
The executive also reportedly pointed out that the deceleration in Vrbo was related, in part, to streamlining. With the changes, it has been more difficult for websites to have as high a ranking as they did at one time in Google.
In February, it was reported that data indicated that Expedia’s home rental service growth slowed in the fourth quarter; revenue from HomeAway rose 20 percent. At the same time, it was reported that gross bookings at HomeAway grew 15 percent compared to 47 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Expedia acquired HomeAway in 2015, and has improved the site’s technology over the last three years, and increasing its online offerings. HomeAway has 1.7 million bookable online listings per reports in February, but rival Booking Holdings — formerly Priceline — and Airbnb both have around 5 million. It was also reported at the time that Expedia made strides to take on competitor Airbnb through the acquisitions of startups ApartmentJet and Pillow.