Q1 2024 Earnings Conference Call


spk07: Good morning and welcome to Disbarger's first quarter 2024 earnings call. My name is Krista and I will be your operator for today's call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. And please note that this call is being recorded. There will be an opportunity for you to ask questions at the end of today's presentation. Now I would like to turn the call over to Mr. Luca Pfeiffer. Investor relations, please go ahead.
spk09: Good
spk14: morning everyone and thanks for joining
spk09: us today. In addition to reporting on audited financial results in accordance with the U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, we will discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures and operating metrics, including foreign exchange neutral calculations. Investors should carefully read the definitions of these measures and metrics included in our press release to ensure that they understand them. Non-GAAP financial measures and operating metrics should not be considered in isolation, substitutes for or superior to GAAP financial measures, and are provided as supplemental information only. Before we begin our prepared remarks, please allow me to remind you that certain statements made during the course of the discussion may constitute forward-looking statements, which are based on management's current expectations and beliefs. And are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to materially differ, including factors that may be beyond the company's control. These include, but are not limited to, expectations and assumptions related to the integration and performance of the businesses we acquire. For a description of these risks, please refer to our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and our press release. Speaking on today's call is our CEO, Damian Skopin, who will provide an overview of Dispigar's first quarter performance, as well as an update on our many strategic growth initiatives. Next, our CTO, Gonzalo Estevarena, will provide you with an update on recent developments of our AI power travel assistant, Zofia. And finally, Amit Singh, our CFO, will follow with a more detailed review of the quarter's financial results. After that, Damian will end our prepared remarks with a wrap-up before we open the call for your questions. Damian, please go ahead.
spk02: Thank you, Luca, and good day, everyone. Building on our strong finish last year, Dispigar delivered another robust quarter. We achieved significant top-line growth, with gross bookings increasing 12% -over-year to $1.3 billion. In constant currency, bookings grew a strong 42% -on-year. Notably, our focus markets, Brazil and Mexico, performed well. With -over-year gross bookings, they are increasing 27% and 26%, respectively. These strong results reflect growing demand for package deals and hotels bookings in these regions, enabling us to leverage our leadership position through effective commercial execution. Our commercial efforts continue to drive impressive results as we further expand in the travel package segment, with sales in this category reaching an all-time high of .9% of our gross bookings. We also maintained a strong take rate of 13.4%, leading to a .2% -on-year increase in revenues, which reached $174 million for the quarter. Largely as expected, foreign exchange had a significant negative impact in our revenue growth in Q1, but in constant currency, revenues increased a very robust 36% -on-year. An improving revenue mix with more profitable non-air revenue now accounting for around 65% of our sales, combined with our relentless focus on cost efficiencies, continues to drive operating leverage. Adjusted evidence in the quarter increased 126% -on-year to $39 million, and our adjusted evidence margin expanded to 22.4%, the highest ever in the SPGAR's history from .9% in the same quarter last year. Additionally, for the first quarter of 2024, our adjusted net income was $22.4 million, representing a very substantial 68% -on-year increase compared to the $13.3 million adjusted net income in the first quarter of 2023. Turning to our business segment, B2C bookings grew 10% -on-year during the first quarter, reaching $1.1 billion. This growth was primarily driven by the robust hotel and package sales I've highlighted, particularly in Brazil and Mexico. This performance also reinforces our position as a brand leader in the region. We continue to offer a compelling product portfolio at highly competitive prices, while also offering a comprehensive array of payment options, which are essential for most Latin Americans who purchase travel. This strategic approach caters to the diverse needs and preferences of the SPGAR's customer base, and reflects our commitment to and reputation for quality, affordability, and financial flexibility. By maintaining a laser focus on our key markets and relentlessly pursuing a competitive edge, we remain well positioned to drive sustained growth and higher levels of profitability for the foreseeable future. In addition to successfully expanding our online presence, we are pleased with the performance of our recently launched offline sales challenge in Brazil and Argentina, an asset-like business model to penetrate the offline segment, which accounts for roughly 50% of travel sales in Latin America. As we've discussed in the past, our goal is to penetrate the region's massive offline market and to be the key enabler of accelerating the transition from offline purchases to online ones. The B2B and white label markets continue to be significant growth drivers in the first quarter, highlighting their strategic relevance. Growth bookings in our B2B segment grew at an impressive 47% -on-year, while our white label operations saw an 11% -on-year increase. A key highlight on this front was the expansions of our white label partnerships with Liveelo, Brazil's largest loyalty program. The program is operated by Banco do Brasil and Bradesco, Brazil's second and third largest banks. Through the Spegard white label platform, our customers can not only accumulate Liveelo points through purchases made on the platform, but can now redeem these points for any travel product, including packages. They also have the option now to purchase travel products with cash directly on the white label site. These new features have been highly successful and resulted in the Liveelo partnership becoming our largest white label operation in Brazil. For perspective, Liveelo's over 45 million members now have exclusive access to redeem their collective 100 million accumulated reward points for travel services offered by the Spegars. Our collaboration with Liveelo marks a significant step in consolidating the Spegars position as the partner of choice for Latin American's other leading brands. It underscores the strength of our -in-class technology platform, which enables us to provide highly customized solutions to our white label partners, regardless of their size as well as the best possible travel promotions and experiences for their customers. Liveelo is one of many other loyalty programs, as well as banks such as Bebeu in Argentina, Colombia and Peru, that we provide travel solutions for. We eagerly look forward to deepening our relationships with Liveelo as well as other significant partners in the coming months and quarters. As we have previously communicated, our vision for white label solutions is not confined to Latin America. We aim to leverage the scalability and proven strength of our platform to strategically penetrate targeted segments of the vast 2.2 trillion global travel market. This strategy reflects our commitment to broadening our impact and delivering exceptional value across the globe. Next, I would like to discuss some of the ways that our continued focus on innovation are driving improvements in our operating and financial results. At Espegal, we leverage our industry-leading technology platform along with our extensive customer database to maintain a deep understanding of emerging customer preferences across diverse markets. This enables us to deliver unique and highly tailored travel offerings that resonate with our customer base as evidenced by the increase in packaging sales, which as already mentioned reach an all-time high of 36% of our gross bookings for the quarter. Our focus on innovation includes our mobile apps, which serve as an effective tool for driving customer engagement and cultivating long-term customer loyalty. The first quarter marked a significant achievement in terms of app engagement. -on-year downloads of our app increased 30%, bringing our total install base to nearly 17 million devices. Furthermore, a record 49% of all our transactions were processed through our apps during the quarter, driving additional organic growth. Our app-first strategy is delivering the most probably positive results in many other ways, from increased customer engagement and retention to lower customer acquisition costs, as well as improved cross-selling opportunities. As discussed on our last earnings call, we are particularly proud of our most recent innovation. Sophia, our generative AI travel assistant, is the culmination of many months of dedicated development work. After launching Sophia about two months ago, we are thrilled to see how customers are engaging with her, which includes discussing topics that extend beyond travel reservations. We continue refining Sophia and enhancing her capabilities, such as incorporating customer feedback into operating features. As a reminder, Sophia is trained on the SPIGAS extensive customer data, our comprehensive product inventory, and a vast array of web-based information, all of which make her a truly powerful digital travel assistant. Later in the call, Gonzalo will discuss our latest updates to Sophia as we continue to set the pace on this exciting area of travel. Next, I want to discuss how our customer-centric approach also enables us to maintain brand leadership across the region. Our industry-leading loyalty program, Pasaporte Despegar, remains integral to our brand identity and is another key driver of customer retention. This quarter, Pasaporte Despegar maintained its impressive growth trajectory. By the close of the first quarter, total loyalty program membership has reached 26 million customers, representing a significant 83% -on-year increase. Furthermore, points redemption activity continues to steadily increase, with redemptions during the quarter now exceeding .7% of total transactions, an increase of .2% points versus .5% in the first quarter of 2023. In addition to rising loyalty membership and growing points redemption, we substantially strengthen our customer loyalty, as evidenced by a significant improvement in our Net Promoter Score, NPS, which rose 4 percentage points -on-year to 71%. This improvement also underscores our dedication to delivering exceptional travel experiences. Moreover, we have been improving on this important front, while simultaneously making our service model more efficient and scalable. For example, the model leverages our robust technology platform to empower customers to resolve travel-related inquiries efficiently through self-service options for a majority of cases. Innovation, as well as customer satisfaction and retention, continue to be the core to strengthening our competitive advantage and maintaining brand leadership in the region. Further evidence of our improving customer relationships is our unaided brand awareness, which consistently positions Despegar as the leading travel brand across all our operating markets, higher than both local and international competitors. Industry-leading brand recognition translates into not only organic traffic, but also makes us a preferred partner to travel product suppliers, who also benefit from our brand strengths. In summary, the key drivers of our solid performance this quarter were our consistent focus on sharp commercial execution and further improvements in operational efficiency, coupled with our ongoing focus towards a more profitable product mix. Additionally, we continue to drive growth in organic traffic and further penetrate the large and high potential B2B and wide-labeled market segments.
spk14: As we look ahead,
spk02: towards the rest of the year and beyond, we are very excited about the many growth opportunities that lie ahead. We remain firmly committed to maintaining our position as the travel technology industry's leader in profitable growth and to relentlessly pursuing excellence in all our endeavors. Continuous innovation is paramount to staying ahead of industry trends and being able to effectively navigate emerging challenges. Always embracing innovation, we expect to sustain our current momentum and further consolidate Despegar's market leadership. I will now turn the call over to Gonzalo, who will walk you through our most recent advancements with our AI Tree Planner, Sofia.
spk03: Thank you, Damian. Before delving into our latest product updates, I'd like to reflect on the valuable insights we've gained since launching Sofia. During the past two months, Sofia had thousands of customer interactions, successfully providing appropriate responses in over 80% of cases. This feedback has been crucial, as it not only enhances our understanding of the most pressing travel-related issues, but also identifies additional features our clients desire, ones that will make Sofia an even more indispensable travel companion. We made several significant enhancements to Sofia during the quarter. First, we integrated Despegar's complete hotel inventory, along with related customer feedback and pricing history. This integration enables our clients to effortlessly research, compare, and book hotel stays in an innovative way. For example, a customer can now ask Sofia about accommodations in Paris and receive more tailored suggestions based on their preferences, as well as past interactions with her. Second, we redesigned the landing page to offer initial travel suggestions based on the user's location, coupled with inspired destinations and personalized offers derived from previous interactions with Despegar's platform. We've also upgraded Sofia's filtering capabilities, enabling her to offer more personalized travel solutions that consider the customer's specific needs, as well as available promotions. A particularly exciting update is the enhancement of Sofia's memory. Sofia can now retain information from the interaction that she can recall later as needed to improve the conversational quality of interactions with customers and their clients. This feature allows them to reduce repetitive input from them. Looking ahead, we will continue enhancing Sofia's capabilities, as well as integrate comprehensive after-sales services. We believe that our AI-powered solution is revolutionizing how customers interact with our platform. Sofia consistently exceeds expectations by generating bespoke travel solutions rapidly. This capability not only enriches the customer experience by facilitating personalized travel planning across multiple communication modes, but also integrates various travel components quite smoothly. The insights gained from implementing and operating Sofia, which we intend to share in future communications, are central to continuously refining and enhancing her features going forward. Beyond Sofia, we are utilizing AI throughout our organization to drive operational efficiency and customer service. This effort includes equipping our service agents with advanced AI tools to handle inquiries more effectively, accessing accurate information faster, summarizing customer interactions automatically, and analyzing the effectiveness of our agents, allowing us to tailor our services to better meet customer needs. These initiatives have already shown promising results, with a significant decrease in the cost per order compared to pre-pandemic levels, while achieving higher customer satisfaction. Through our continued focus on innovation and leveraging AI technologies, we are poised to deliver unparalleled customer experiences and drive sustained business growth. Now, to provide a detailed review of our first quarter financial performance, I will pass the call to Anik.
spk12: Thanks, Gonzalo. Our first quarter results are very robust and continue to demonstrate a very positive growth trend as we built on the momentum that we gained last year. As I may have discussed, through excellent commercial execution, we effectively capitalized on the strong travel demand, especially in our key markets, Brazil and Mexico. They drove total gross bookings to $1.3 billion in the quarter. This represented a solid 12% increase year over year. In constant currency, this growth was much more impressive at 42% year over year. With that backdrop, let's take a closer look at our regional performance, starting with our main market, Brazil. As Dhania noted on our previous earnings call, there has been a clear trend towards consumers prioritizing spending on services and experiences. The shift in spending, along with our focus on delivering value to affordable package offerings and attractive financing options that continue resonating with our customers, is creating robust growth opportunities across our focus market. Capitalizing on this favorable trend, we achieved impressive year over year growth and gross bookings in Brazil. During the quarter, our bookings there climbed 27% year over year or a 21% year over year increase on an effective basis, reaching $580 million. This outstanding performance was primarily driven by ongoing strength in package and hotel sales, a direct result of our strategic commercial initiative. Additionally, as we gain more market share, we further solidify our industry leading position in Brazil. Fitting our attention to Mexico, this is our second largest market. We are also pleased with our strong first quarter performance there, nearly replicating our growth in Brazil. Gross bookings in Mexico grew a significant 26% year over year on a reported basis, or 15% year over year on a constant currency basis, reaching $275 million for the quarter. This robust growth trajectory can be primarily attributed to the continuous increase in international package and hotel transactions and strengthening air travel sales. Mirroring the success achieved in Brazil, Mexico's robust non-air growth underscores the continued efficacy of our core commercial strategies, which are driving more diversified and profitable revenue streams. Looking at the rest of Latin America, our gross bookings experienced a year over year decrease of 8% to $436 million for the quarter, mainly due to the FX pressures that affected ESPs, primarily in Argentina and Chile. But on an FX-neutral basis, gross bookings increased 74% year over year in this area of our business. To better capitalize on strong secular tailwinds, particularly in Brazil and Mexico, we continue prioritizing non-air sales within our commercial offerings and customer value proposition. This focus is particularly reflected in travel packages, which reached a significant 36% share of gross bookings versus 34% in the same quarter last year. As a result, non-air revenue surged past air ticket sales to reach 65% of our revenue mix. Analyzing our distribution channels, we observe that robust travel demand translated into a 10% year over year increase in gross bookings at our core B2C business, reaching $1.1 billion in the quarter. Our above market growth is evidence that we continue gaining market share throughout the region. Moreover, our ongoing efforts to drive growth in the adjacent B2B and wide label segments have further solidified our position. These segments delivered year over year increase of 47% and 11% in gross bookings, respectively. Our commitment to improving the SPGAR's revenue mix while delivering unmatched value to our customers continues to pay off. With the first quarter yielding a strong .4% take rate and a solid 174 million in revenue. This translates to a 9% growth rate in revenue and a remarkable 36% increase in constant currency. We firmly believe that our 36% FX neutral top line growth reinforces the SPGAR's position as a leader in the region and one of the fastest growing travel technology companies globally. In line with our efforts to optimize financial performance, we remain focused on capturing efficiencies with a particular focus on streamlining growth strategies, particularly with respect to our GNA and technology expenses. To our improving operating leverage, we were able to deliver an adjusted EBITDA of $39 million, up 126% year over year and implying an adjusted EBITDA margin of .4% for the quarter versus .9% in the same quarter last year. As Damian noted, it was our highest adjusted EBITDA margin since the company's IPO in 2017. As an additional point of reference, I'd like to highlight adjusted net income, which we started reporting in the previous quarter. This metric aims to give our investors a clear picture of our underlying profitability on a normalized basis by excluding largely non recurring expenses and to help facilitate comparing our results with the SPGAR's peers. The specific adjustments made to calculate this metric are detailed in a reconciliation table of our earnings. For the first quarter of 2024, our adjusted net income was $22.4 million, representing a very substantial 68% year on year increase compared to the 13.3 million adjusted net income in the first quarter of 2023. Looking at our operating cash flow, we used $2.6 million during the quarter, which compares to $5.2 million of cash generated during the first quarter of 2023. More specifically, while capital during the quarter was approximately $8 million and roughly in line with our expenditure in 2023, we used a portion of our cash balance during the quarter to factor less of our accounts receivable in Brazil with the objective of reducing our factoring expenses. This is in line with our strategy of accreted uses of our cash on the balance sheet, as we have discussed previously in our earnings call. For the quarter, we reported total cash and cash equivalents of $213 million, reflecting a decline of $15 million year over year. This decrease was expected as we paid $15 million of dividends to holders of our preferred-a shares, almost half of which was a catch-up payment on interest peaked in 2021. In addition, as discussed earlier, we used cash on our balance sheet to reduce factoring expenses. We anticipate rebuilding our cash balance in the second half of the year, in line with cash trends observed in prior years. Our commitment to a prudent approach to capital allocation remains steadfast. We continue to prioritize investments and organic growth initiatives, with a particular emphasis on bolstering our B2B initiative. A strategic focus on this new growth avenue will help fulfill our long-term vision for Latin America, while positioning us for potential expansion into new markets beyond the region. Although we evaluate potential M&A targets with a specific focus on deepening this regard's market penetration or enhancing our travel ecosystem, we remain disciplined in our approach. Any acquisition must deliver clear synergies and significantly enhance our organic growth trajectory. Lastly, a strong cash position also allows us to reduce debt and financing costs, which we also examine regularly. Looking ahead, we still have a bullish outlook on our business. Our confidence stems from the positive trends that we continue to observe in the online travel market, as well as the success of our various strategic initiatives that are consistently driving strong revenue and profitability. We therefore maintain our revenue guidance of at least $820 million for 2024, which equates to robust annual growth of at least 16%. While our constant currency revenue growth remains far ahead of other industry players, FX has created some headwinds for our reported revenue growth this year. That said, we still expect to be a global industry leader in reported revenue growth. Moreover, in the second quarter of 2024, we expect our reported revenue growth to accelerate from 1Q levels. Additionally, our focus on profitable growth, efficiency, and increasing operational leverage is now allowing us to raise our 2024 adjusted EBITDA guidance from at least $150 million to now at least $155 million, which implies -over-year growth of at least 34%. Building on our growth in revenue and exceptional adjusted EBITDA expansion, we remain firmly committed to maintaining the SPGAR's position as the world's fastest growing travel technology company. Our continued success is driven by a powerful combination of market-leading brands, proven commercial strategies, unparalleled local market expertise and supply relationships, and a relentless focus on cost efficiency. Combined with our leading technology platform and a culture of innovation, we remain well positioned to unlock future operating leverage, maintain industry-leading revenue growth, and further expand our margins for the foreseeable future. Also, as anticipated, the global online travel market is experiencing solid growth, further bolstering our optimism about the long-term potential we see in Latin and in entry markets outside Latin America. Now, I'll turn the floor over to Damián, who will provide a brief summary of today's review before we open the floor for your questions. Thank you.
spk02: Thank you, Amit. To conclude, it is evident that our first quarter results were solid and aligned to our long-term goals, representing significant progress for the SPGAR once again. Our continued success is the result of disciplined and rigorous execution of our well-defined growth strategies. Our deep local market knowledge, coupled with commercial excellence, strong brand presence, and the leading edge technology platforms, were instrumental in driving exceptional performance again this quarter. These core strengths continue to bolster our competitive advantage as we strategically leverage our brand across the region to expand our B2C as well as B2B and white label offerings. Our key strategic objectives continue to be expanding package revenue, driving direct traffic through our established portfolio of high-performing apps, and nurturing the continued success of our loyalty program. All of this will be achieved while maintaining a highly competitive cost structure. Accordingly, we are firmly committed to delivering sustained top-line growth while further increasing operating leverage. It is important to also reiterate our excitement towards Sophia and our intention to build on the early success of our innovative digital travel assistance. Sophia represents a paradigm shift in the travel booking experience, a future characterized by efficiency, personalization, adaptability, and a highly interactive user experience. We look forward to keeping you apprised of Sophia's latest innovations and functionalities as they are introduced to the market. With that, let's open the floor for questions.
spk07: Thank you. At this time, we will open the floor for your questions. As a reminder, you can also submit your questions online by using the Q&A function of the webcast platform. Your first question comes from Andrew Rubin with Morgan Stanley. Your line is live. Please state your question. Hi.
spk04: Thanks very much for the question, and I congrats on the results. Two items. If I may, maybe the first on the revenue side. You mentioned in 2Q you expect to see a revenue acceleration looking at the guidance. It implies there's going to be a pickup as we get through the year. I'm curious if you could help us break down some of the drivers, how you're thinking about what countries can contribute to the pickup, whether it's consumer facing or anything on V2C, anything on FX, just anything to really help us bridge to the acceleration. And then the second point would be more on the business. We see the app penetration continues to pick up, increasing, I think it was 13% year on year. So it's sizable gains. And just trying to get an understanding of what you're doing on the commercial side or marketing or what you attribute the significant step up in the app to. That would be very helpful. Thank you.
spk02: Hi Andrew. This is Tamián. Thank you very much. In terms of the revenue pickup, that's, as you recall, very consistent with what we said last time. We not only see an increasing growth trend in the V2B business with the pipeline of deals that were very close to announced, but we also see a trend of the market remaining strong and even increasing very solidly in Brazil and Mexico. That's the basis of our budget. And we see that reflected on the current market conditions and the perspectives we see going forward. As per the app, as you know, there's a lot of things going on. We're really excited about how the app is performing in many dimensions and it's a result of many actions taken. Obviously, how user friendly our app has become. There's a lot to do with the type of offers and the push notifications we're able to tailor to each consumer. And we expect much more news on that front too. The important thing about that is not only the increased loyalty interactions with customers, that obviously you see that reflected on our customer acquisition costs. That will come further down as long as the app continues
spk14: to gain protection. Great.
spk04: And maybe just even a quick follow up in terms of Sofia, how are you seeing the consumer engage between the app and the desktop and any early indication on what type of queries, interactions, searches, anything that you've noted or surprised you in terms of that uptake?
spk13: Yes, I did. So many people tend to use
spk03: the Sofia in the app. I would say it's very consistent with what Damian was saying before in terms of the preference by channel. Let's say for the users in general, they prefer to do much of the browsing and the understanding of where they want to go in the app, even when some of them tend to then move to the desktop to convert in the normal flow. So Sofia is much more exploratory. In most cases, people prefer to use it in the app. And what we have seen and that surprised us is that constantly our users surprised us in terms of trying to use features that have not yet been developed. At the beginning when we initially launched Sofia only for flights and some initial recommendations on destinations, people would ask about hotels. Now that hotels are available, people ask a lot about after sales. We have only a very small beta version and after sales service and people always try to use the next thing that is not yet available. It's amazing how users are getting used or accepting this technology as being given and they normalize the fact that they expect the assistant to be able to do the next amazing thing
spk14: very soon. That's interesting, Kala. Thank you both.
spk07: Your next question comes from Navid Khan with B. Riley Securities. Please proceed with your questions.
spk10: Yeah, thanks a lot. Maybe just on the on the guidance. What are you assuming in terms of exchange rates or currencies when you give the guidance? And what are you assuming in terms of the organic growth rates or the underlying growth rates? That's one. The second question I have is just on the cost side. So seeing really nice improvement in our leverage in technology, is that a baseline we should be working off of as we model out and about the factoring sort of expense that you're trying to reduce? Are the savings going to continue to kind of build from here or give us your thoughts in terms of how we should think about the factoring expense?
spk12: Sure. And how are you? This is Amit. So let me first start with the FX part. As we had discussed in the last earnings call, especially this year, and we discussed this during our prepared remarks as well. This year, we do have significant FX headwinds, but it's as expected. You know, we don't specifically lay out in our guidance our FX expectation for the full year, but you should see our overall reported revenue growth trend, as we had discussed last time, starting below that 16% mark in the first quarters and then picking up in the second half. Some of that is helpful as FX headwinds tamper down a little bit, plus a lot of B2B initiatives start kicking in, as Damia had mentioned. So that's on the FX. On organic inorganic, as you know, right now our growth is 100% organic. The last acquisition we did was a while ago. So overall, our growth trajectory until now and here on has been, and the guidance and all has been very much focused on that. In terms of cost, you know, we continue to drive very strong cost leverage. You know, as you have seen in our first quarter, now our adjusted EBITDA margin is the highest since our IPO. Obviously, you know, if you look at our guidance, you know, our overall guidance for the full year is below our adjust, in terms of adjusted EBITDA margin, it's below what we reported in first quarter, because what we are doing is while we are driving very strong adjusted EBITDA margin, we also have plans to invest in the business. So we still feel very comfortable in getting to a very normalized adjusted EBITDA margin of that 20% and then eventually getting to that mid 20%. But until then, we plan to do this gradually while investing in our business to drive very strong long term organic growth. And then coming to the...
spk10: Sorry,
spk12: on your factoring question. So, you know, we discussed in the past, we have strong cash on balance sheet. Obviously, you know, we remain active on evaluating any M&A targets, but one of the very accretive uses of our cash is, as you know, we factor our receivables in, you know, especially in Brazil. And so for us, what we are doing is moving some cash to Brazil. And what that does is you see an increase in our account receivable, but it shows a decrease in cash. But net net, you know, in terms of total assets, there is no change. You just see an increase in account receivable for the same amount of decrease in cash, but it reduces our factoring expense. So even in this quarter, you know, we don't specify exact amount, but even in this quarter, we had a small amount of net income benefit from that strategy. And going forward, that will be our strategy going forward as well. That whenever it makes sense for us, we utilize the cash on our balance sheet to move it to Brazil, reduce our overall factoring, in turn reducing our factoring expense and helping our net income.
spk10: That's very helpful. Just to clarify something you just said in answering my question. So, you know, you talked about investments kind of affecting margin from here on. So what are the areas you're investing in? And did you I mean, you kind of talked about top line improving in the second quarter. But how should we think about it with the.
spk13: Yeah,
spk12: so investments, you know, of course we are investing across the board, you know, but the main areas of investments remain B2B. And a lot of these investments are also to position ourselves for long term growth, you know, establishing our basis where we can drive B2B at a very strong rate over the very long term. But the same time investments in our B2C capabilities as well, like how do we further solidify our position in the markets that we are already in? You know, then investments towards our loyalty program. All of these are investments right now, but they eventually help us solidify our long term growth rate.
spk14: And then EBITDA for second quarter, how should we think about that?
spk12: We don't specifically, as you know, guide to EBITDA or margin for quarter to quarter basis. But what I can say is we feel very confident about the full year EBITDA guidance that we just raised in this quarter.
spk14: Thank you,
spk07: Amit. Thank you. Your next question comes from the line of Kevin Kopelman from TD Cowan. Please proceed with your questions.
spk05: This is Jacob Kopelman. Can you share what the overall business is and maybe share how large the numbers are? And then you mentioned expanding markets. What markets are you looking into and any progress
spk09: there? Jacob, you're breaking up quite a bit. Would you mind repeating that question?
spk14: Yes. Yes. Can you hear me? Yeah, this is better. I was asking
spk05: what percent the level of partnership of the overall B2B business and how big a customer are and then expanding the markets. But that's expansion to markets, maybe what markets
spk14: you're looking into and any progress there. Thank you. Yeah, Livelo is
spk02: not only a great partner, but it's a very big revenue opportunity for Despegar, given that it is the largest loyalty program in Brazil and we are the leading travel agency. So there's a lot of room for joint cooperation at the white label business, even exploring options on exchanging points between their loyalty programs and pasaportes. So there's ample growth opportunities there, just scratching the surface. As per B2B, as we mentioned in the past, we are surprised by the traction the business is gaining in all different geographies. Obviously, we are focusing on the largest markets, Brazil and Mexico, and started to respond to some inquiries from people beyond Latin America into exploring partnership models in other geographies. So I would say that the geographic footprint of our world is well diversified and started to look to opportunities
spk14: beyond Latin.
spk07: Your next question comes from Joel Suarez with Citi. Please go ahead with your questions.
spk11: Thanks. Thanks so much. Guys, I just wanted to dig a little bit deeper into the short-term trends. You're clearly gaining a large share when you compare your results, the gross booking strengths versus the largest peers in the sector. So I'm just wondering, I mean, what level of market share are you at currently in Brazil? And trying to understand a little bit what's happening in terms of the supplier side with the airline companies. If I could get an update there, we understand there's some consolidation happening. And yeah, those are it.
spk02: Thanks. Jacob, thanks a lot. This is Damian. I would highlight a few things. First of all, as you said, we're growing much more rapidly than our competitors. But the important thing is we are growing profitably. And in terms of potential, even as you know, we do not disclose market share by country. But if you look at our overall size, -a-vis the total Latin American travel market, we're still really small. So in comparing our growth potential, our profitable growth potential, what still lies out there for us to grow in Latin America, it's not an issue of market share. We can be 10 times larger and still have room for growth.
spk12: And I will add to that, you know, if you look at, let's say, you know, just Brazil, our top market, if you look at not just our top line growth, but also, you know, we don't get going to individual profitability of the region. But our profitability in Brazil is also improving. So while we are growing much faster than peers, we're also doing that while materially improving our profitability. So we feel very good about how the company is moving from here, you know, not just in Brazil, but other regions as well, as we are organically consolidating the market. Right. You know, with our scale and our commercial strategies, you know, this is giving us the opportunity to be, you know, the number one market pair in all the regions. And then we expect this trend to continue in the coming quarters and years.
spk11: Okay, just a quick follow up. One thing that you commented on, Amit, and touch base on the factory side, right, you're utilizing cash from other geographies and placing in Brazil to reduce the factory expenses. I'm just wondering about that relationship with financial partners, both to reduce that factory, to pass those receivables to a financial partner and also function as possibly a sales enabler, given, you know, how dependent of credit the consumers are in Brazil. So I'm just wondering how you guys are seeing those opportunities, right, and to reduce potentially those those spectrum expenses as well.
spk12: Thanks. So we have a very, call it, you know, and again, we don't provide specific targets for it, but internally we have a very strong path laid out or strategic path laid out how to reduce our overall cost of installment and even credit card processing fees. And there's a lot of things that go into it. You know, we have individual country leaders managing the relationship with these financial partners in each country. But we also have a global strategy where we are working, you know, as we are gaining scale, for example, it is helping us or it will help us even more going forward where we can direct more and more volume towards specific partners, which in turn will help us drive lower rates. So our growth and market share gain in the future will potentially also help us reduce the overall factoring expense rate, so to speak. And at the same time, while we are, while we have a strong position of cash on balance sheet, we'll utilize that cash to reduce our factoring expense, you know, wherever it makes sense to in the end, you know, help our or improve our overall net income.
spk11: Right. And just to finalize, sorry to just one last point. I mean, as you go into B2B, we should also naturally expect, I mean, it doesn't require that much factoring as well,
spk00: right?
spk12: That's true. It does not require as much factoring expense. And the other thing also is, as you know, the interest rates are trending, you know, downwards and we'll see where they go. But the trend is more positive. So that should help us reduce factoring expense going forward as well.
spk11: Perfect. Thank you.
spk07: Your next question comes from the line of Thomas Shinsky with Cantor Fitzgerald. Please proceed with your questions.
spk06: Hi guys. Thanks for taking my question. I guess just on Sophia a little bit. Good to see all the momentum there and the new memory storage. You know, more customer retention data should be great for the generative AI model. I guess, is there any thought to, you know, within the model, train it to recommend customers towards more of your higher margin packages versus, you know, single accommodations? I guess any thoughts there?
spk13: Yes. Hi. So thanks for the question.
spk03: Basically, the answer is yes. Of course, we haven't yet launched packages because in the way we have implemented the solution, basically, we have been, so Sophia basically is trained to be able to use all of the features of our backend technology that we have already developed over many, many years and make it available in a single application. So Sophia is trained to use the technology in a simpler, more humane way, let's say. And the fact that our packaging solution is built on the combination of our flight and accommodation solutions means that in terms of how we develop it, it's basically necessary in a way to explain Sophia how to book a flight and how to book an accommodation in order for Sophia to be ready to book a package. But the logic, once that is done, is exactly that one, to try to steer demand towards the more valuable products, which is definitely packages, in the same way that we currently do it within each product category. Today, when Sophia recommends any of the products within one of the categories, it does it with the same logic that our website does it, that it's basically a combination of what is potentially most attractive to the client, but also that it's most profitable to us.
spk06: Awesome, thanks. And then one more, if I may. Just a bit of an increase in accounts receivable, kind of a headwind to cash flow from operations. Just wondering the seasonality on that and how we should be thinking about accounts receivable throughout the rest of the year. Thank you.
spk12: Like we mentioned, account receivables do go up as we are factoring less and move cash. So that's sort of a strategy, as we were discussing earlier. And account receivable overall should trend in the same direction as bookings are trending throughout the whole year. So I wouldn't expect outside of our specific strategies to reduce factoring, the normalized account receivable growth should trend similar to the bookings growth trend.
spk14: Awesome.
spk06: Thanks again and congrats on the quarter.
spk07: Your next question comes from the line of Tom Champion with Piper Sandler. Please proceed with your questions.
spk01: Hi, good afternoon. Thanks for taking the questions. Maybe two for Damian or Ahmed. First, I'm wondering if you could just flush out a little bit more of the Brazil offline sales strategy. You referenced that in your script and it seems like you have a ton of momentum on direct traffic and what's going on with the online sales strategy. With your app and your app downloads. And I'm just wondering what would take you on an offline strategy. I'm sure there's some valid reasons behind it. And then secondly, just curious if you could talk about the macro and your results seem very strong. I'm just trying to parse execution versus improving market dynamic. How do you feel about the market relative to 90 days ago? Thank you.
spk02: Hi Tom, thank you very much. Two things. On Brazilian offline initiatives, remember that we have only 11 stores at the moment. And the main strategy there is to capture a portion of what still is a 50% of the market transacting offline and to accelerate the conversion of those customers into online customers. I think we mentioned on our last call, the previous one, the fact that roughly 69% of the customers who bought on our stores were customers that had not bought from the Spegar before. So we are tapping into a new market and converting those new clients into online clients. As per the macro, what we've seen so far along the years is very much in line with what we plan for. And our expectations is that our current outlook, the performance of the business will accelerate not only on the top line side, but we'll be able to capture even more operational leverage. As we grow. So outlook remains as positive, perhaps a little bit more positive than 90 days ago.
spk14: It takes a lot.
spk07: Our last question comes from Jed Kelly with Oppenheimer. Please proceed with your question.
spk08: Hey, great. Thanks for taking my question. Just a couple of ones. Just on the AI investments you mentioned earlier, can you talk about how it's helping you on the customer service? And then just in the Brazil market, I realize that's one of the key markets for Airbnb. Can you just talk about if you're seeing any competition from them and just the competitive dynamics in
spk14: that market? Thank you. Okay, hi. So I take the question on
spk03: if I answered correctly on AI in customer service. So basically we use AI not only in the visible Sophia travel assistance, but also a lot in our back office. We have several initiatives. Just to mention a few of those. One, for example, has to do with the fact that up until now, in order to be able to offer some, let's say, continuity of the conversation when a customer called again on a follow up call, we would have our agent create a small summary of the interaction so that the next agent would be able to pick up on the conversation easily. And that is now automatically done with an AI tool that creates the summary on the fly. And that is currently saving us approximately 17% of the time that our nation dedicates to a specific call. So it's a very significant saving for us. Another of the opportunities that we are already also capturing is the fact that we are able to use also the same AI tool that understands not only the transcript of the conversation, but also the tone of the client and is able to relate that to a lot of other data points that we have on that client specific needs. So, for example, whether he has suffered a disruption in his trip, what is the current situation in terms of how many days are still before the trip and things like that. To predict what is the chance that this person will have a major complication and especially for Brazil, that is a very marketing which lawsuits are very, very common from customers to businesses. And that is if there is a chance that this person will create a legal claim and it will eventually cost us significantly and we use that model that predicts all that by analyzing the conversation and all the other data points to be able to, for example, prioritize that call in our waiting list of calls to be answered or emails to be responded and even to tweak our commercial policies when appropriate. Another one is, for example, we use that also to understand how much our customer agents are following our recommended script of how to take the conversation during a call. And also the adherence to the processes that we have. What we are doing is that we are currently using our AI, let's say supervisor, to create a score on the different interactions that can then be used by human supervisors to select which calls to, let's say, create the sample of which calls they will hear and give feedback. To the agents based on what the AI supervisor is recommending. Okay, so these are just some examples of what we are doing. And this not only creates a much better productivity for us in the back office, but also an enhanced customer service where we dedicate and steer our resources to the more complicated cases.
spk02: And, Jack, this is Damian. On the vacation rental side, first, keep in mind that this is a category that in Latin America represents today less than 15% of all searches. So it's a category that is relevant, but it's not as relevant as others. Even though that, what I just mentioned, we're growing very strongly on vacation rentals and that's part of the reflection of our growth on non-air bookings, which we reach an all-time high. So in the overall scheme of things, we are doing very well in vacation rentals, but more importantly, we're doing very well in the overall hotels category that is much larger in
spk14: Latin America.
spk07: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, I would now like to turn the floor back over to Mr. Skokin for any closing remarks.
spk02: We would just like to thank you all for your interest in this, for joining our call today, and we're really looking forward to getting in touch with you again when we release our second quarter results. Thanks a lot and take care.
spk07: This concludes today's conference call. You may now disconnect.
spk02: Get in touch with you again when we release our second quarter results. Thanks a lot and take care.

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