Consumer demand for Tripadvisor improved in February and March, led by the U.S., where Covid-19 vaccination efforts are well underway.

However, CEO Steve Kaufer said, "the road to recovery is, in fact, uneven."

While the U.S. market is beginning to recover, Europe, for instance, lagged, but started to improve in April, Kaufer said on the company's earnings call Friday. Other challenges remain, like in India, where Covid-19 cases are surging.

Steve Kaufer
Steve Kaufer

Tripadvisor's websites saw slow but steady improvement in the first quarter of 2021 in the number of unique users: user count was approximately 53% of 2019 levels in January, 56% in February and 58% in March. U.S. monthly users in March neared 80% of 2019 levels (outside of the U.S., monthly users were around half of 2019 levels for the same period).

Reco, Tripadvisor's service linking travelers with travel advisors, is still slow to roll out, Kaufer said. The product is aimed at travelers looking to arrange bigger-ticket, international trips.

"People have not been taking those big types of trips over the past couple of quarters," he said, noting that Reco launched during the pandemic. However, he is hopeful for its future as borders begin to reopen.

Tripadvisor is also continuing with its beta rollout of Tripadvisor Plus, its subscription product that offers travelers discounts on hotels and other perks. The beta test is currently taking place in the U.S.

Tripadvisor reported revenue of $123 million in Q1, which was a slight improvement from $116 million in the last quarter of 2020 but down 56% compared with Q1 of 2020. The company operated at a loss of $80 million, compared with a loss of $16 million in the first quarter of 2020.

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