TripAdvisor sees higher growth for referral revenue in 2014

Tue May 6, 2014 6:33pm EDT

(Reuters) - Travel review website TripAdvisor Inc (TRIP.O) raised its 2014 growth forecast for referral revenue after reporting a 9 percent rise in quarterly profit, helped by increased revenue from referrals and display advertisements.

TripAdvisor's shares rose as much as 3.8 percent in extended trading after it reported a 16 percent jump in referrals income, which makes up three-quarters of its revenue.

The company forecast 2014 referral revenue growth in the high 20s in percentage terms, up from a previous forecast of growth in the low 20s.

"We continue to expect sequential acceleration (in click-based revenue) throughout the next couple of quarters, as we lap the MetaSearch transition," Chief Executive Steve Kaufer said on a post earnings call.

TripAdvisor is benefiting from higher fees every time a user clicks through to a third-party booking site, after the company changed its display to show prices more prominently.

The site now lists prices of hotel rooms from booking sites alongside its user reviews, allowing for easy comparison. This translates into fewer clicks for each booking site but each click is more likely to lead to a booking.

Until last year, prices were displayed in separate pop-up windows, making it more complicated for users to compare prices.

The net income attributable to TripAdvisor rose to $68 million, or 47 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $62.3 million, or 43 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, TripAdvisor earned 54 cents per share, 1 cent below what analysts had expected on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 22 percent to $281 million, below the average analyst estimate of $282.9 million.

TripAdvisor shares traded as high as $84.51 in extended trading before easing back a little to $83.79.

(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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