3 Ways Expedia Can Make Your Travel Easier in 2014

Expedia’s recent innovations offer not just improvements for travelers, but also strong potential for market-share gains to benefit investors. But the stock still comes with risks.

Jan 11, 2014 at 7:30AM

For most, vacations are a rarity in life. Therefore, you need to make the most of every opportunity. Nothing is worse than a bad vacation. At least when you have a bad day at work, you can go home and sulk and/or vent in the comfort of your own home. When you're on vacation, the bad water that made you sick isn't going to suddenly change for the better, those bugs flying around the room and landing on your eyelids aren't going to halt their flight patterns while you sleep, and the rude person at the front counter isn't going to have a change of heart regarding how he feels about out-of-towners. 

This isn't meant to scare you away from going on vacation. Everyone has a bad experience once in a while. But most vacations are successes. However, you need to maximize your odds of success. And that's where Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) comes in. 

Three innovations to improve travel bookings
The innovations you're about to read about have the potential to improve travel-booking experiences for millions of people. If this comes to fruition, then it will lead to market-share gains and increased revenue for Expedia. Of course, this isn't a guarantee. It's way too early to tell if these innovations will be successful since they were just launched. But they are being written about because of their strong potential.    

How many times have you searched for the right flight before finally booking something? If you're like the average traveler, it's 48 times. Wouldn't it be nice if all your previous searches would be automatically saved and retrievable at any time? This would save a lot of time. And wouldn't it be nice if you received emails about price changes for your saved searches, giving you an opportunity to take advantage of the best value? This is now possible with Expedia's Scratchpad. 

If you're the type of person who books a flight the first time you sit down, wanting to get it out of the way so you can move on to other things, then you might appreciate Expedia's Flight Recommendations, which analyzes more than 3 billion flight searches performed by other people and applies the results to your search in regards to alternative airports, dates, and times. The goal is to find you the best value. 

Itinerary Sharing is the third innovation. It pertains to having the option of sharing your travel itinerary with co-workers, friends, and/or family. Whoever you share the information with will have the ability to track departure times, arrivals, as well as delays. 

Combined with Expedia's Best Price Guarantee, these innovative measures have the potential to lead to market-share gains. But if we're to go on actual results as opposed to potential, does Expedia appear to be the best investment option? 

Expedia vs. peers
Expedia has grown its top line at a faster pace than Orbitz Worlwide (NYSE:OWW) over the past year but not as quickly as Priceline.com (NASDAQ:PCLN):

PCLN Revenue (TTM) Chart

Priceline revenue (trailing-12 months) data by YCharts

Priceline has outperformed its peers on the top line for several reasons. A bidding system where customers could name their own price was the original catalyst. Having William Shatner as the company's face didn't hurt, either. However, later growth stemmed from acquisitions, especially Booking.com, which turned Priceline from a domestic travel company to an international one. 

Orbitz Worldwide has been trying to transition from a flight-booking travel site to a flight-and-hotel-booking travel site. Most consumers use the site for flight bookings, but Orbitz believes that its recent reward program, called Orbucks, could be a catalyst for increased consumer engagement, primarily because rewards are instantaneous. 

The bottom line
Expedia's recent innovations related to big data could act as positive catalysts for stealing market share from Priceline and, to a lesser extent, Orbitz Worldwide. If you would prefer to go with the company that is currently the fastest growing in the industry, then you might want to consider Priceline. If you choose to invest in any of the companies mentioned here, please keep in mind that they're all highly dependent on consumer discretionary spending levels, which makes them sensitive to any economic downturns. 

Learn how to profit on these companies
Want to figure out how to profit on business analysis like this? The key is to learn how to turn business insights into portfolio gold by taking your first steps as an investor. Those who wait on the sidelines are missing out on huge gains and putting their financial futures in jeopardy. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal-finance experts show you what you need to get started, and even gives you access to some stocks to buy first. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

 

Dan Moskowitz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Priceline.com. The Motley Fool owns shares of Priceline.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.


Compare Brokers