Hotel reservations drive Sabre's bookings rebound

Sabre CEO Sean Menke reported that a bookings recovery accelerated significantly in the second quarter, with strong hotel reservations continuing to drive the rebound. 

“[We saw] the strongest sequential improvement since Q3 of 2020,” Menke told investors during the company’s second-quarter earnings call on Tuesday. “As has been the case since the start of the recovery, hotel CRS transactions are leading, down 22% in July versus 2019.”

Although domestic leisure demand has propelled the U.S. recovery thus far, Menke added that Sabre has seen corporate travel “green shoots.” Sabre said North America bookings at travel management companies improved by 20 percentage points versus April, and currently sit at nearly 50% of 2019 levels.

Still, Menke cautioned that “some recovery trends regressed in July,” citing impact from rising Covid case counts and concerns surrounding the delta variant. 

“Case counts have correlated with a near-term impact on bookings,” said Menke. “The promising news is that as case counts and travel restrictions subside, the underlying travel demand trends remain encouraging, and we believe the overall recovery arc remains positive.

For the quarter, Sabre’s bookings totaled 57 million, a 60% decline from the same period in 2019. 

Compared to 2019, net air bookings were down 65%, 62%, and 49% in April, May and June, respectively, and down 59% in the second quarter as whole. North America — Sabre’s largest market — emerged as the standout region for air bookings, according to Menke, led by the U.S.

Passengers boarded totaled 104 million, down 43% from the second quarter of 2019.

Meanwhile, Sabre’s second-quarter revenue totaled $420 million, which Sabre executive vice president and CFO Doug Barnett called a “significant improvement” on 2020’s second-quarter revenue of $83 million. 

Sabre’s net loss for the quarter totaled $168 million, compared with a net loss of $356 million in the second quarter of 2020.

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