Amid an SUV load of good news in this week’s earnings report from global ridesharing giant Uber, positive signs for the travel industry weren’t hard to find.
Uber’s report for the final three months of 2022 made clear it had left the pandemic downturn in the rearview mirror. Uber’s $8.6 billion in revenues for the fourth quarter represented a 49% increase over the same period the previous year. The company also reported gross bookings of $30.7 billion for the quarter, up 19% year over year, and it eclipsed two billion trips within a single quarter for the first time.
“We ended 2022 with our strongest quarter ever, with robust demand and record margins,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says. “Our global scale and unique platform advantages position us well to accelerate this momentum into 2023.”
The news wasn’t as good for Lyft, the ride-hailing platform for consumers in the U.S. and Canada. On the plus side, the company’s reported revenue of $1.2 billion over the last quarter of 2022 was up 21% year over year and was 12% higher than third quarter revenues.
“Revenue was the highest in our company’s history” in the fourth quarter, cofounder and CEO Logan Green said during a call with investors Thursday evening.
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That said, Lyft also reported a net loss of $588.1 million for the quarter, compared with a Q4 net loss of $283.2 million in 2021. The 2022 figures included $375 million set aside for increasing insurance reserves.
Both companies anticipate gross bookings to grow 20 to 24% year-over-year in the current quarter. At Uber, part of that optimism lies with the outlook for travel and the success of Uber’s latest offerings, including Uber Reserve, a traveler-friendly feature that allows users to pre-book trips up to 30 days in advance.
“If you look overall at the portfolio of new products that we’ve introduced, those new products accounted for about … 20% of our growth,” Khosrowshahi said during Wednesday’s call with investors. “That portfolio is growing at about 100% year on year. It will continue to be a larger and larger portion of our overall bookings.
“Reserve is the biggest one. We talked about it being over two billion dollars. It is a terrific product, especially as travel opens up. Typically, if you think about traveling to and from the hotel and coming back, there are about four trips that are available to us. And we capture one and a half of those trips. So we think there is still a significant runway for us to continue to grow Reserve.”
In addition to Reserve, the company has created Uber Travel, which imports flights, hotel and restaurant reservations into the Uber app to simplify the process of requesting rides related to those bookings. It also partnered with Viator to enable users to book that company’s experiences through Uber Explore and book a ride to the location at the same time.
In other highlights from the report, Uber’s adjusted EBITDA increased to $665 million, up from $579 million year over year. Sales and marketing costs for the quarter were $1.12 billion, down from $1.26 billion year over year.
For Lyft, it reported a Q4 adjusted EBITDA of $126.7 million, excluding the $375 million it put toward insurance reserves. This compares with a negative $47.6 million over the same period in 2021.
“Our results beat our outlook on every metric, excluding the actions we took on our insurance reserves,” Green said during the investor call, later adding, “This is obviously not the level of growth or profitability we’re aiming for or capable of, and we are laser focused on driving additional growth and managing costs. The better marketplace balance we see today creates significant opportunities for long-term growth.”