By Christina Thykjaer
MADRID (Reuters) -Spain's eDreams ODIGEO narrowed its first-quarter net loss to 13.9 million euros ($13.94 million) as bookings rose 50% above pre-pandemic levels, the travel booking company said on Wednesday.
The Barcelona-based firm, whose fiscal year started in April, had reported a net loss of 23.9 million euros a year earlier.
"The market has not yet recovered to pre-COVID levels, so the increase in bookings really shows that people are choosing us," Chief Executive Dana Dunne told Reuters.
Revenue doubled to 145.7 million euros, yet earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) remained negative, with a loss of 1.8 million euros versus a loss of 4.2 million a year earlier.
"We have lots of volume but, on average, people are booking shorter trips with fewer people right now, and therefore we have less opportunity to provide services," the firm's Chief Financial Officer David Elizaga told Reuters.
Travel curbs worldwide for the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 preceded a strong rebound in 2022 that has yet to reach pre-pandemic levels, however.
eDreams was the first travel group to introduce subscriptions for customers, a fairly common practice in other industries, but a new approach in the travel sector.
"We've added over half a million new prime subscribers just in the last three months," Dunne said, adding that he was confident those numbers would exceed the 2025 goal of 7.25 million subscribers.
"In the coming months, we will start to return to a more normal seasonality after COVID."
By 2025, eDreams targets cash earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation above 180 million euros.
Shares of eDreams were down 2.3% by 0933 GMT, underperforming Spanish blue chip index Ibex-35
(Reporting by Christina Thykjaer; Editing by Jason Neely and Clarence Fernandez)