Little wake-up call shared today by the Priceline Group for consumer-facing startups thinking they can challenge the big boys and girls of the online travel world.
In its fourth quarter and full year 2015 earnings announcement, Booking.com/Agoda/et al's umbrella company disclosed it had spent $2.8 billion on online advertising over the course of the 12 months ending December 31 2015.
The figure of $2.8 billion was joined by a more modest $215 million used to push the brands on offline channels, such as television and outdoor.
The online ad spend is a jump upwards from $2.4 billion in 2014, although the cost of its offline activity has decreased from $230 million.
Other sales and marketing services cost the company $353 million, up from $310 million in 2014.
Chief financial officer Daniel Finnegan says there has been "some pressure" over the course of the last three years around the metrics and ROI, but that the company is "well positioned" to take advantage of its expertise in keyword bidding and use of its digital marketing technology.
Still, any startup or established (but smaller) competitor to Priceline Group that might be thinking this is just one juggernaut in front of them needs to reconsider.
Expedia Inc's full-year 2015 earnings report disclosed similar, eye-watering levels of media spend.
Not content with a hefty $2.8 billion outlay of its own across the portfolio of brands in 2014, Expedia Inc says it spent $3.3 billion during 2015 - an increase of 23% y/y.
The company says Expedia, Trivago, Hotwire and Hotels.com accounted for the majority of the total increase.
NB:Advertising image via Shutterstock.