Priceline and Expedia to Become the Google and Yahoo of Travel?
Snow, ice, rain, sleet—Winter Storm Thor's crazy path from Texas to New Jersey and New York has Americans dreaming of getting away. If the dreaming happens online, chances are they'll end up on Priceline.com, Expedia.com or other sites the marketers own.
With acquisitions The Priceline Group and Expedia Inc. are making, Chicago-based AdGooroo estimates Thursday that their paid search spends account for more than 20 percent of the travel marketing's AdWords dollars.
"Expedia spent $103 million on U.S. Google AdWords for desktop/tablet text ads (not including mobile) across all of its brand sites in 2014 compared to $92 million spent by Priceline's travel brand sites," according to AdGooroo.
For Expedia Inc., those brands include Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz Worldwide, as well as related services like Hotels.com, Hotwire.com and Trivago. The Priceline Group's stable includes Priceline.com, KAYAK and Booking.com, as well as the restaurant booking service, OpenTable.
"Expedia's 2014 [PPC] expenditure … accounted for 10.9 percent of the total $943 million spent on desktop/tablet text ads on U.S. Google by the travel industry in 2014," AdGooroo writes on Thursday.
To put that number in perspective, Amazon.com spent $157.7 million on Google U.S. search ads in 2013 in order to earn the top spot in "Google's 25 Biggest Search Advertisers," a list Ad Age compiled in September 2014 from AdGooroo's data. The insurance industry, though, trumps Expedia and Amazon. "Nearly 28,000 advertisers spent $103 million sponsoring those 6,003 health insurance-related keywords on desktop and tablet during the first half of 2014," AdGooroo writes in September 2014.
The 2015 paid search study will need to include mobile data. eMarketer predicts this year will be "the tipping point" when half of digital travel researchers will look up and may book their flights, hotels and more via mobile.
"Based on eMarketer's latest forecast of digital and mobile travel researching and booking, 128.8 million people in the U.S. will research travel on the Internet this year, or 63 percent of Internet users," eMarketer writes in November 2014. "Of that group, 47.4 percent will do so via mobile. Meanwhile, 106.3 million people (52 percent of Internet users) will actually book travel online, including 31.6 percent of the total who will book travel on their mobile devices."