Chinese Travel Stocks Take Different Routes

Ctrip.com (Nasdaq: CTRP  ) and Home Inns & Hotels (Nasdaq: HMIN  ) are passing ships this week, but you probably won't guess which one is heading in the right direction.

Shares of travel portal darling Ctrip closed 3% lower yesterday after the company posted uninspiring quarterly results.

The second quarter itself was solid. Revenue climbed 46% to $103 million, with earnings of $0.23 a share landing the company just ahead of Wall Street's bottom-line target of $0.21 a share. There was a 42% uptick in its flagship hotel and air ticketing revenue, with even larger gains in corporate travel and vacation packages.

However, Ctrip's top-line outlook for the current quarter -- calling for revenue of 35% to 40% -- translates into decelerating top-line growth. It also didn't help that analysts were expecting third-quarter revenue to clock in marginally higher.

Home Inns, on the other hand, is rocking. Revenue climbed 26% to $119 million in its latest quarter, fueled by a 16% spike in RevPAR -- a critical lodging-industry metric that measures revenue per available room. Higher daily rates and an eye-popping 96.4% occupancy rate set the appropriate tone.  

Being good simply isn't good enough anymore for Ctrip. Stateside investors looking for some skin in the promising travel industry within a red-hot China have far more options these days.

United Travel Group (NYSE: UTA  ) trades at less than five times this year's projected earnings. eLong (Nasdaq: LONG  ) is backed by gobs of cash.

Moving on to Chinese hoteliers, China Lodging (Nasdaq: HTHT  ) and 7 Days (NYSE: SVN  ) weren't even public a year ago.

Ctrip is still a popular portal, but investors have a right to question paying nearly 45 times this year's projected earnings, given the cheaper alternatives. Search darling Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU  ) trades at an even loftier multiple, but that's because it's operating practically uncontested in China these days.

Congratulations on the good quarter, Ctrip. Now, to move your shares higher, give us the great one we've been expecting.

Do you own any Chinese travel-related stocks? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Baidu is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers choice. Ctrip.com International is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Buckle up those seatbelts!

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a fan of China’s high-margin stocks for a long time. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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