Spain's eDreams Q3 net loss narrows as subscribers, bookings rise
By Matteo Allievi and Jakub Olesiuk
(Reuters) - Spanish travel booking company eDreams ODIGEO said on Thursday its net loss in the October-December period narrowed to 10.1 million euros ($10.7 million) as it added more subscribers and the number of bookings continued to rise.
After the end of COVID-19 restrictions, the tourism sector is rebounding, with pent-up demand for travel helping European airlines and hotel chains recover from the pandemic slump.
"Our bookings remain strong and continue above pre-pandemic levels, all in a market that is progressively returning to its normal seasonality patterns," Chief Executive Dana Dunne said in a statement.
eDreams said it does not expect the uncertain macroeconomic outlook to deter travel.
Metrics such as the number of days spent on holiday and how early people book in advance are still 20% to 25% below pre-COVID levels, Chief Financial Officer David Elizaga told Reuters.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 65% to 23 million euros in the third quarter.
eDreams said the subscription programme was the main driver of profitability. It charges an annual flat fee of about 55 euros for access to lower fares when booking on its websites.
The company said it had 4.2 million paying subscribers in February and was on track to meet its targets of 180 million euros in core earnings and 7.25 million subscribers by 2025.
"For July and August, when people were queuing for hours at airports because of cancellations and staff shortages, for our prime customers our average answer time was 60 seconds," Dunne said, pointing to VIP customer support as the programme's main strength.
Subscriber numbers in the third quarter jumped 81% year-on-year to 3.9 million, even though it is seasonally the quietest period.
Stocks in tourism-related companies began the year with a rally. Shares in eDreams have gained around 50% year-to-date, while those of Spanish hotel chain Melia and IT provider Amadeus surged by around 31% and 15% year-on-year, respectively.
($1 = 0.9411 euros)
(Reporting by Matteo Allievi and Jakub Olesiuk; Editing by Kim Coghill, David Latona and Sharon Singleton)