(Adds CEO, analyst comment; updates shares)
By Mridhula Raghavan
Aug 7 Online travel agency Orbitz Worldwide Inc
forecast current-quarter revenue above analysts'
estimates, helped by a rise in spending on air tickets and hotel
bookings in an improving U.S. economy.
The operator of websites such as Orbitz.com and
CheapTickets.com also reported a higher revenue for the second
quarter as revenue from hotel bookings rose 15 percent.
Hotel bookings accounted for about a third of the company's
total revenue in the quarter.
The rise was driven mainly by the company's rewards program,
Chief Executive Barney Harford said on a conference call.
Under its rewards program, Orbitz offers discounted hotel
bookings if customers also buy air tickets.
Revenue from flight bookings rose 5 percent, while that from
vacation packages rose 12 percent.
"It was a good quarter with continued good outlook and they
are getting traction with a lot of their loyalty areas,"
Benchmark Co analyst Dan Kurnos said.
Rival Expedia Inc reported better-than-expected
revenue and profit for the second quarter last week as its hotel
and flight bookings increased.
Priceline Group Inc, which operates Priceline.com,
is due to report results on Monday.
Orbitz said it expected revenue of $249 million-$254 million
for the quarter ending September.
Analysts on average were expecting $242.3 million, according
to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Orbitz's net profit rose to $6.9 million, or 6 cents per
share, in the quarter ended June 30 from $561,000, or breakeven
on a per-share basis, a year earlier.
The year-earlier quarter included a $18.1 million charge
related to refinancing debt.
Revenue rose 10 percent to $248.1 million, beating the
average analyst estimate of $245.5 million.
Gross bookings for Orbitz, or the dollar value of all travel
services purchased, rose 9 percent to $3.40 billion.
Orbitz's shares were down about 1 percent at $8.97 on the
New York Stock Exchange on Thursday afternoon.
The stock had risen more than 26 percent this year to
(Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Savio D'Souza and Kirti