Stocks of online travel agencies Priceline.com and Orbitz plummeted yesterday because of weaker than expected earnings this year. It's one of the many stories Tnooz is following on 9 August.
Shares of PCLN lost 17% of its value Wednesday - the largest percentage drop in four years - following its bleak forecast.
Orbitz stock (OWW) lost 19% after earnings fell 48% between March and June. Gross bookings were down 1 percent year over year, but it should still log annual sales of $900 million by 2013, putting it close to TripAdvisor in revenue.
The backstory: Both companies had a "Blame Europe" attitude, saying that the weakening financial activity across Europe will lead to reduced travel spending and drag down earnings for who knows how long.
Analysts weren't wholly accepting the Europe excuse. Citi’s Mark Mahaney worried that Priceline's bookings in the U.S. underperformed compared to Expedia for the second consecutive quarter.
Meanwhile Brian Nowak of Nomura Equity Research suspected Priceline's problems were more about "the laws of large numbers and natural deceleration."
Google does a travel navigation experiment with VersaillesGoogle has created an interactive 3D tour of Versailles that uses WebGL to guide visitors around the famous French palace - from the gardens to the King's bedchamber - via Chrome Experiments.
A top paid travel app goes free
Mobiata's FlightTrack ($5) and FlightTrack Pro ($10) have been the top-grossing travel apps for years. Later today Mobiata releases a free iPhone and iPad version and a free Android version. The new apps sport a fully re-designed user interface that mashes up flight details with flight maps, and they support a dozen languages.
Indoor GPS may become profitable
Canadian indoor navigation company Wifarer rolls out its first apps for indoor navigation of specific venues at Vancouver Airport and the Royal British Colombia Museum.
The backstory: Wifarer's venue-based licensing model may promise a more reliable income stream than the geo-targeted advertising that other companies, such as Point Inside and Aisle411, rely more heavily on.
The venue prompts consumers to download the app, which will populate with the relevant information (videos, coupons) for the specific venue, and then can be reused when a customer visits another participating venue. It is a software-only solution, so venues don't have to deploy any hardware. Its content management system lets venue customize content how they want.
Boingo goes shoppingBoingo bought Cloud Nine Media, a startup that specializes in using sponsorships to make wireless access profitable at a couple of airports - a more profitable option than the typical banner ad. Wireless carriers may be one of the sponsors at airports in order to ease congestion on their networks.
TripAdvisor UK being sued - again
Says the London Times:
"This week Richard Gollin, 64, who runs a remote B&B on the Isle of Lewis, is suing TripAdvisor, the travel website, for what he claims are “malicious” and fake reviews about his business. He says it should be more responsibly supervised."
New IT gives airport parking provider an edge
Two-year old UK company Stress Free Airport Parking upgrades its IT at three UK airports to automatically process third party orders and update prices in real time against its capacity levels.