Expedia Chairman Barry Diller on travel, airline bailouts, and advertising amid COVID-19 crisis
"Cataclysmic." That's how Barry Diller described the current state of the world in an interview with CNBC Thursday. Diller sits in a unique position amid the COVID-19 crisis, leading one of the world's largest travel companies as Expedia's chairman while also overseeing internet and media giant IAC. Here's a quick recap of the interview:
Diller, who recently took over day-to-day operations at Expedia, acquired the travel giant right around 9/11. He believed that the travel industry would go back to normal relatively quickly, which it did. He thinks the COVID-19 pandemic is a different beast. "What I said then was that if there's life, there's travel," Diller said. "I still do believe that, but this is not going to be what happened then … at best, we'll have kind of a rolling way out." Diller doesn't expect normalcy until at least the fall.
The Seattle-based company saw its stock price fall more than 50% last month amid the outbreak and travel restrictions around the globe. RBC said last month that Expedia is one of the "most at-risk names in terms of exposure to COVID-19." Given the reduced activity, Diller said employees are spending "truly quality time" working on projects they weren't able to address while keeping up with growth. Expedia laid off 12% of its workforce in February before the novel coronavirus outbreak.