The Priceline Group plans to continue its efforts to bolster
alternative accommodations, all of which are instantly bookable, something CEO
Glenn Fogel feels is an advantage.
Fogel spoke to the topic during the company's first-quarter
earnings call on Tuesday.
Fogel said Priceline's Booking.com platform has more than
640,000 instantly bookable vacation rentals, which represents year-over-year
growth of 51%. Booking.com's total properties represent around 25.5 million
rooms, with 8 million of those in alternative accommodations like homes, villas
Answering an analyst's question on how to drive further
growth in the vacation rental segment, Fogel said that the company does not
charge travelers fees to book vacation rentals, and that all of its vacation
rentals are instantly bookable.
"We think that's an advantage," he said, adding
that Priceline will continue to build its portfolio of alternative
Fogel said Priceline's alternative accommodations business
is "growing faster than the overall average for the entire company."
Priceline's main competitor, Expedia Inc., offers a
portfolio of vacation rentals through its HomeAway brand. During the company's
most recent earnings call in late April, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said about 85%
of the properties from HomeAway are bookable online (about 1.4 million).
"Then we're also making the transition over from online
bookable to instant bookable," Khosrowshahi said. "That's still
earlier and we think that the move to instant booking will continue to be a
tailwind as it relates to overall conversion rates."
In addition to discussing alternative accommodations on
Priceline's call, Fogel also addressed an analyst's question about whether the
company has seen any impact from rhetoric from the Trump administration and its
attempted travel bans.
"We have not seen a material impact from political
events in the U.S.," Fogel said.
Additionally, Fogel announced that CFO Dan Finnegan, who
spoke Wednesday on his 33rd earnings call, plans to retire. Finnegan has been
with Priceline for 14 years, and Fogel said he will remain with the company as
it embarks upon a search for his successor.
In the first quarter of 2017, Priceline's net income
increased 22% to $456 million. Its gross profit increased 16% to $2.3 billion.