The people of the world are traveling more, a trend that is benefiting one of the two big publicly traded online travel agencies: Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN). The company released strong fourth quarter and 2016 results after the closing bell Monday that indicated robust growth, although its profitability guidance fell short of expectations.
For the quarter, Priceline’s total revenue increased by 17% on a year-over-year basis to $2.35 billion, on gross travel bookings that zoomed 26% higher to $15.1 billion. Adjusted net income rose by 31% to $711 million ($14.21 per diluted share).
Those results outpaced the market’s expectations. On average, analysts had been projecting $2.32 billion on the top line, and adjusted net profit of $13.01 per share.
Priceline attributed those substantial improvements largely to its hotel bookings, saying that it “recorded accelerating growth in room nights booked for the full year 2016 over 2015, which reflects the benefits of our scaled accommodations platform and strong execution…