Thank William Shatner as Priceline's Stock Price Negotiates a Five-Year High

Priceline’s shares traded at a five-year high today, nearly tripling in value over the past year alone.

The company said it is performing well, as deal seekers around the world–from North America to Western Europe to the Asia-Pacific region–look for deals on hotels and rental cars, specifically, and benefit from improvements in the economy.

The company’s stock is trading at $463.33, up $6.32 a share today. A new 52-week high was hit yesterday, trading at $459.57 a share.

Yesterday, Priceline announced it entered its fifth straight year of its well-known advertising campaign, featuring William Shatner–a.k.a. “the Priceline Negotiator.”

Shatner is portrayed as a James Bond-like character who will stop at nothing to obtain the best travel deals and maximum savings for Priceline customers–although he does silly things along the way, too, like watch a gorilla wrestle a scrawny man.

Shatner will be joined in the campaign–created by Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners–by new sidekicks Naomi Pryce and the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The Norwalk, Conn.-based company will release its fourth-quarter and full-year results Feb. 23.

Expect the focus to be on growth.

Priceline is forecasting total gross travel bookings to jump year-over-year by 36 to 41 percent, with most of the growth coming internationally.

International bookings are expected to jump by 54 to 59 percent vs. minimal growth in domestic gross travel of 5 to 10 percent.

Annual revenues are forecasted to jump by 31 to 36 percent, and gross profits are expected to soar by 49 to 54 percent.

As a close competitor to Priceline, hit a 52-week high of $29.85 back in September, but has fallen considerably since, to trade around $21.69 a share.

Yesterday, Expedia relaunched a new price-savings campaign called ASAP: A Sudden Amazing Price. The  promotion will offer two discounts a day on hotels and other items of up to 50 percent, aimed at both sides of the country.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus