Priceline Group CEO Darren Huston said testing will begin
this week on Booking.com’s partnership with TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking
A "small sample" of Booking.com inventory will be available on Instant Booking. Last month, Priceline and TripAdvisor announced the
“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
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
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.