Priceline profits soar in 2013 as shift to mobile accelerates

Priceline profits soar in 2013 as shift to mobile accelerates parent Priceline saw profits jump 40% in 2013 to $5.7 billion with operations outside of the US accounting for the lion’s share of its earnings.

In its fourth quarter and full-year trading statement released yesterday, Priceline said international operations contributed $5.02 billion in gross profit, up 41% year on year.

For the current quarter, Priceline says it is targeting a further 23% to 33% increase in gross travel bookings – 25% to 35% in its international business.

The firm said it expected to see an adjusted EBITDA of $420 million to $450 million in the first quarter of 2014.

The fourth quarter of 2013 saw Priceline drive a 41.9% increase year on year in gross profit to $1.3 billion. International business gross profit was $1.15 billion, up 38%.

Non-GAAP figures, generally considered a more accurate indicator of company performance, showed net income in Q4 of $471 million, up 35.2%.

Adjusted EBITDA for Q4 was $578 million, up 35.8% year on year. For the full year, non-GAAP net income stood at $2.2 billion, up 36.3%, and adjusted EBITDA was $2.7 billion, up 35.9%.

Darren Huston, Priceline Group chief executive, said: “The Priceline Group finished 2013 with a strong fourth quarter, reporting accelerated hotel, rental car and airline ticket unit growth.

“The group’s full-year room night reservations of 271 million grew by 37% as compared to 40% in 2012, reflecting only modest deceleration on a large scale business.

“The group’s brands are off to a solid start in 2014, with continued investment in broadening our offerings, building our brands and providing superior experience to our customers.”

Priceline operates the hotel reservations platform, as well as, and metasearch site Kayak, which it bought for $1.8 billion in 2012.

In a separate announcement, revealed the value of mobile bookings has growth from $3 billion in 2012 to $8 billion last year. In 2011 that figure was £1 billion.

Chief marketing officer Paul Hennessy said: “We are seeing a shift in booking behaviour from simply booking last-minute accommodation on mobile devices to planning, researching, booking and utilising post-booking functionality on our mobile platforms.”

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