Expedia +12.3% AH on Q4 beat, strong bookings; Priceline +1.5%

|By:, SA News Editor

Expedia (EXPE) has soared to new highs after handily beating Q4 EPS estimates and reporting a sizable acceleration in gross bookings growth (+21% Y/Y vs. +15% in Q3). Archrival Priceline (PCLN) is following Expedia higher, as is Orbitz (OWW), whose shares are up 2.4% AH.

The bookings growth was fueled by a 25% Y/Y increase in hotel room nights (up from 20% in Q3), and a 13% increase in air tickets sold. Revenue/hotel room night fell 9%, and revenue per air ticket rose 3%.

Domestic bookings +19% Y/Y to $4.98B, international bookings +24% to $4.12B. Agency bookings +26% to $5.25B, merchant bookings +15% to $3.86B.

Much like Priceline, Expedia continues spending heavily on search ads: Sales/marketing spend +23% Y/Y to $484M (42% of revenue). Technology/content spend +15% to $155M.

If history is any guide, TripAdvisor (TRIP) might also follow Expedia higher. TripAdvisor reports on Feb. 11, and Priceline on Feb. 20.