Demand Returns to Expedia

Expedia ( EXPE) feasted on renewed demand among frugal travelers for airline tickets and hotel rooms in the second quarter, posting a profit that was twice what it earned a year ago on a big rise in revenue.

The travel Web site earned $41.3 million, or 30 cents a share, in the second quarter compared with earnings of $20.1 million, or 15 cents a share, last year. Revenue was $247.5 million, up 71% from last year.

Expedia's merchant revenue, which represents money from package deals with hotels and airlines, soared 82% year over year to $155.8 million, while agency revenue, which is mainly commissions from stand-alone and airline tickets, shot up 57% to $86.2 million.

The company reported 4.6 million total hotel room-nights stayed in the quarter, including 3.7 million merchant room-nights. Merchant room-nights stayed increased 32% sequentially and 80% year over year.

Adjusted to exclude amortization, stock-based compensation and other items, the company earned $53.1 million, or 38 cents a share. The metric is primarily useful because of its comparability to analysts' estimates, and on that basis, the company beat by 7 cents a share.

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