Bet Stocks for 2017: TripAdvisor Inc (TRIP) Stock Ups Number of Hotel Shoppers

Editor’s note: This column is part of our Best Stocks for 2017 contest. Jason Moser’s pick for the contest is TripAdvisor Inc (NASDAQ:TRIP).

Yes, TripAdvisor Inc’s (NASDAQ:TRIP) shares have basically given back all of their 2017 gains (and then some). But I said last month, “It’s worth keeping the company’s upcoming Feb. 16 earnings release on the radar, as this can be a volatile holding.”

Bet Stocks for 2017: TripAdvisor Inc (TRIP) Stock Ups Number of Hotel Shoppers TRIP Stock

Well, there’s no question that those earnings left a lot to be desired.

In the short term, TRIP stock probably won’t be at the top of many lists — at least not until its success is more obvious. But I set my expectations a while back, and I’m looking for traction not only in the all-important revenue-per-hotel-shopper metric, but also the denominator in that equation: hotel shoppers.

Signs of growth there should lead revenue growth, and to be sure, the number of hotel shoppers increased a healthy 8% for the quarter.

TRIP Stock Chart

The orange line in chart below shows just how challenged growth in hotel shoppers has been as the company has moved to its Instant Booking platform, but we think the nice increase at the end of the year (although it probably won’t be a straight line up) is set to continue:

Source: TripAdvisor

Although management is notorious for not giving Wall Street much guidance, the company said it expects revenue growth to pick back up in 2017 now that the transition to Instant Booking is more or less complete.

We’ll see plenty of marketing spending as TRIP tries to teach consumers about all the services now available on TripAdvisor — and changing consumer behavior is tough. But as someone who has used Instant Booking several times now, I can say with confidence that the company has a good product.

I recently made a trip to Atlanta, and not only did TripAdvisor save my bacon with its hotel reviews (finding me a great place at a good price), but I also booked my stay using the platform, and the experience was seamless.

The move to Instant Booking was the right one for TRIP stock. It will allow TripAdvisor to capitalize on a far greater market opportunity than it had before, and although it may take a little time for the stock price to reflect what we think, patient shareholders will be very glad they own shares of this innovative information platform that serves the entire travel industry.

As of this writing, Jason Moser owned shares of TRIP.

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