Priceline.com Incorporated (PCLN)
Priceline.com (NASDAQ: PCLN) is a travel service that offers airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, vacation packages, and cruises. The company operates as priceline.com, rentalcars.com, breezenet.com, and lowest fares.com. The company’s “Name Your Own Price” service (also called its “opaque” business) offers customers a unique value proposition by allowing them to name their own price for online products/services. In these transactions, Priceline.com determines the price it will accept and has discretion in supplier selection. PCLN’s value-add to suppliers is that Priceline.com provides a brand preserving sales service that enables them to sell excess inventory without harming their existing retail pricing structure. Priceline.com also has a more traditional travel sales model that allows customers to choose specific suppliers and inventories. Under the retail model, Priceline.com acts as an agent for the airline, hotel or rental car company and the supplier is the merchant of record.
The subsidiaries of the Company include Lowestfare.com LLC and Travelweb LLC. In May 2010, the Company acquired TravelJigsaw LTD.
The company has benefited from growing travel demand, the shift to internet and robust international expansion.
Priceline’s generates revenue by charging a commission on each flight, hotel room, or other reservation that it books. Through its Name Your Own Price Program, Priceline earns the difference between the price an individual is willing to pay and the price charged by the service establishment. The number of airlines, hotels and car rental company participants in the Name Your Own Price program has increased as suppliers utilize this opaque market Priceline created to sell their perishable inventory without lowering prices through other traditional sales channels. Priceline now also sells discounted cruises, as well as tours and attractions.
Priceline has grown rapidly due to the convenience of booking flights, hotels, and vacation packages online. The Internet was used by approximately 90 million American adults to plan travel during 2009 with 76 percent of online travelers planning leisure trips online. Most see the Internet as a very useful or essential tool for planning most aspects of a trip including where to stay overnight, planning travel routes, potential places to visit, attractions to visit, as well as learning about what to do. The primary tools for travel planning are online travel agency websites, search engines, company websites and destination websites. Airline tickets, overnight lodging accommodations and car rentals are the dominant travel products and services purchased online by travel planners.
Online travel planners have increased many facets of trip planning including the number of information sources used for planning, the number of places considered during the planning process and the number of places actually visited.
The most widely-used information source to plan leisure trips is the Internet followed by online travel agencies, branded suppliers, and other websites. One-in four of adult leisure travelers also obtain information from friends, relatives, neighbors, and/or co-workers. Guide books were the fifth most popular source, being used by 15 percent of all leisure travelers.