Its third-quarter earnings report shows a company that’s still pulling in $1.5 billion in quarterly revenue, exceeding mid-pandemic expectations, even if that it represents $221 million in losses. Parts of the business, such as airfare sales, may have tanked, but others, like rental home platform VRBO, are compensating.
Instead of looking back at the last few months of bumpy business, though, Chief Executive Office Peter Kern—who assumed leadership of the company in April—would rather look forward. Even in comparison to other bullish industry leaders, Kern is steadfast in his conviction that travel’s recovery isn’t just on the horizon but around the corner. And it won’t be just on forested hiking trails and scenic byways but in big, dense, boarded-up cities, too.
“Rome has been through a plague or two,” he says, repeating an idea he’s expressed during many engagements through the pandemic. “And it’s still there. New York has been through all kinds of things. It’s not the first time we’ve had civil unrest,” he explains. “It was a much different place, in terms of safety, when I was growing up in the ’70s, yet we still went there.”
And while it’s true that a quieter New York still holds the vibrancy of many small towns combined, Kern feels that this arc of history will bend sharper and faster toward full recovery than any before. “This is a time with more science, more technology. We’re not going to give up.”