What happened

Shares of TripAdvisor (TRIP -1.00%) were moving higher Friday after the online travel advisor rode the travel sector's recovery to post better-than-expected results in the second quarter.

The company reported its results after the close of trading Thursday, and as of 1:10 p.m. ET Friday, the stock was up by 20.3%. 

So what

Like other travel stocks, TripAdvisor has suffered during the pandemic, but the company is clearly benefiting now from pent-up consumer demand after two years of travel interruptions.

In the quarter, total revenue rose 77% year over year to $417 million, well ahead of analysts' consensus estimate of $393 million. During the period, management also realigned its business segments into TripAdvisor Core, Viator, and TheFork, the last two of which are wholly owned brands.

All segments posted strong growth. TripAdvisor Core revenue rose 49% to $274 million, while Viator, an experience-based brand, grew its top line by 240% to $136 million.

Bottom-line results were strong as well, with total adjusted EBITDA jumping from $25 million to $109 million, and adjusted earnings per share coming in at $0.37, compared to analysts' expectations of a $0.27 profit and a loss of $0.07 per share in the year-ago quarter.

New CEO Matt Goldberg said, "I am pleased with our Q2 2022 performance across all segments, which continued to see robust improvement due to the strong demand in leisure travel, our position as a trusted resource for travelers, diners, and experience seekers, and the excellent execution across our teams."

Now what

TripAdvisor's performance has significantly improved from a year ago, but the company still lags behind pre-pandemic levels in certain key metrics. Its monthly unique user figure was just 83% of the Q2 2019 number. However, revenue was nearly as high as it was in Q2 2019, showing that user monetization has improved.

For the third quarter, management has forecast that revenue will top 2019 levels by a low-to-mid single-digit percentage, and expects an EBITDA margin in the low-to-mid-20% range, with significant margin improvement expected next year.

TripAdvisor has always been profitable, but the company has struggled to live up to its growth promise. With the opportunities it has amid the current recovery in travel and with a new CEO at the helm, the stock looks more promising than it has in a long time.