Priceline Group CEO Darren Huston said testing will begin this week on Booking.com’s partnership with TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking platform.

A "small sample" of Booking.com inventory will be available on Instant Booking. Last month, Priceline and TripAdvisor announced the partnership.

“As with all of our channels, we’ll experiment and optimize with our partners at TripAdvisor and expect to achieve healthy ROIs while being given the opportunity to bring new customers into our fold for the long term,” Huston said during Priceline’s third-quarter earnings call.

He also said that Priceline was open to other, similar partnerships. He said Priceline is “willing to work with other media owners who adopt similar principles that allow both the media owner and the advertiser an opportunity to promote differentiation in their branded offerings and to grow their business.”

Later in the call, Huston said Priceline is aware of potential problems in working with a competitor.

“Obviously, it’s a very tricky area, and what we would never want to do is be a dumb pipe to somebody else’s brand, and we would never want to give our content away to somebody to book other people’s bookings; and you’ll see that we’ve done neither of those,” he said.

Huston also addressed the vacation rental market, and said Priceline’s inventory of 1.8 million bookable rooms is “in the ballpark” of what Airbnb and HomeAway have in their portfolios.

He said that while HomeAway — a company Expedia Inc. will acquire pending regulatory approval — focuses on vacation homes in its portfolio, Priceline is heavier with in-city apartments and vacation rentals in Europe. That might draw a different type of customer, he noted.

Huston called vacation rentals “a really critical market for us in the future,” but said, “I like the cards we have.” A priority will be placed on Priceline’s “unique accommodations portfolio” in the United States.

As a whole, Booking.com has 21 million bookable rooms, according to Huston. The majority, 14.4 million, are with traditional hotels, and 1.8 million are vacation rentals. The remaining 4.8 million rooms are made up of “multi-room unique properties,” like guest houses and bed-and-breakfast properties.

 

Priceline reported that third-quarter net income rose 12.6% from a year earlier, to $1.2 billion. Total third-quarter revenue increased 9.4% from a year earlier, to $3.1 billion.

 

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