Priceline’s Take on Google Entering the Friendly Skies

Online travel company Priceline says it’s going to try to make the most of Google’s recent entry into that market.

During the Norwalk, Conn.-based company’s third-quarter conference call today, it fielded questions about the impact of Google adding airfare and hotel information to its search results through its acquisition of ITA Software.

Priceline CEO Jeffery Boyd said that, so far, it looks like Google has created “platforms that can be operated as an efficient vehicle for advertisers to get qualified leads.” He added that his company’s approach is “as an advertiser, and to participate as effectively as we can.”

Some companies, including Kayak and Expedia, worried about Google’s market power if it was able to acquire ITA. But Priceline did not object, Boyd said.

“The transaction was approved and we think it’s incumbent upon our industry to find the best ways to integrate and advertise on it, and try to get the wealth of qualified customers that Google is trying to drive toward us,” he said.

The downside: If Google is able to send more qualified leads, it might be able to charge advertisers more.

Priceline beat analyst expectations in the third quarter. Revenue grew 45 percent, to $1.4 billion; net income doubled to $469.5 million, or $9.17 a share, compared to the year-ago period.

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