In another expansive move, Priceline Group, the largest online travel agent in the US, will invest $500 million in China’s biggest online travel entity Ctrip.
The owner of Booking.com, Agoda, and a myriad of other digital travel portals and products, Priceline, has gardnered the rights to purchase Ctripshares over the next 12 months. Priceline has a global portfolio of over 500,000 accommodations outside China, while Ctrip has over 100,000 accommodation listings within their sphere. On the news Ctrip’s stock surged 12.49%, while Priceline’s stock added 0.50%. Darren Huston, President & CEO of The Priceline Group commented:
“Ctrip is the clear leader in online travel in China and we are pleased with the growth in Ctrip bookings through Booking.com and Agoda over the last two years. We are eager to build upon what has already become a great partnership, and thrilled to be able to offer our customers even more hotel options in China.”
This latest move by the burgeoning Priceline comes on the heels of news the company agreed to acquire Open Table for upwards of $2 billion, and on the buuteeq marketing suite buyout. I interviewed Priceline’s strategy guru Glenn Fogel (topleft) on the travel giant’s strategy on Eye for Travel last month. Certainly Fogel gave no clue on this China travel engagement, but Ctrip does fit the profile of companies Priceline is famous for gobbling up or leveraging/partnering with.
Given this latest news, and Fogel’s tight fists on specific strategy, it seems fair to assume Priceline will partner with, develop or buy a mobile engagement in the coming months. That’s speculative, but mobile is the only realm the company has not virtually usurped as of yet.