5 Companies to Improve Your Summer Travel

Daniel Banas  |

Summer officially began yesterday - which is certainly not news for anyone who’s been outdoors at all over the past few days and experienced the sweltering heat currently rolling across nearly the entire US. That’s right, this summer season is already promising to be a scorcher, and most of the Southwestern US is already seeing record high temperatures.

Fortunately, as the enervating heat settles in, work across the US tends to slow down - and naturally, the markets tend to see a lull in activity as well. That makes summer the perfect time for travel, and since you’re reading Equities.com, you likely understand the importance of traveling on a budget. Nowadays, there are more companies than ever that are focused on keeping costs down while flying or driving cross-country.

So, in the spirit of the great American tradition of summer travel, here are some of the most popular public travel companies that you can use to save money while on the road, or possibly boost your portfolio if you choose to invest.

Expedia

Based in the US, Expedia Inc. (EXPE) is the parent company to many global travel brands, including Expedia.com (naturally), as well as Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, trivago, Travelocity and Orbitz, just to name a few. So you’ve likely used it without knowing.

What do I do with it?

Expedia allows for finding deals on airfare, hotels, rental cars...basically every major aspect of travel.

Is it a Good Investment Opportunity?

Expedia, Inc. has a long history, having been founded as a division of Microsoft (MSFT) back in 1996, purchased by TicketMaster in 2001 and spun off as its own travel business in 2005. So it’s certainly an established company. More importantly, the stock has steadily risen over the past five years, until a minor dip in late 2015. Overall, it’s been a nice ride for investors of Expedia. That said, the stock is down 13.62% so far in 2016.

TripAdvisor

Tripadvisor Inc. (TRIP) is essentially a forum for user-generated reviews, as well as interactive travel forums. They claim to be “the largest travel site in the world,” with over 60 million members and over 170 million reviews. You might know it from the little green stickers with owl eyes peering out on the front windows of various TripAdvisor-recommended businesses.

What do I do With it?

Mainly, you can use it to get inside information on restaurants, hotels, and other tourist destinations from those who have utilized the service in the past. Also, if you’re trying to decide on various restaurant options in a foreign city, the TripAdvisor sticker does provide a degree of confidence that you’re not walking into a complete disaster.

Is it a Good Investment Opportunity?

As an early adopter of user-generated content, TripAdvisor has taken advantage of an innovative and generally self-sustaining business model. That said, since spinning off from travel giant Expedia in an IPO in 2011, TripAdvisor saw its fortunes rise precipitously for a few years, only to slide in June of 2014, and see a much more mixed performance since then. The stock is down 24.33% so far this year.

Priceline

Starting in 1997 as one of the early internet’s first major travel booking sites, Priceline.com LLC was renamed The Priceline Group (PCLN) in 2014. The name change reflects the company’s diverse and independently-operated six main brands: Booking.com, priceline.com, agoda.com, KAYAK, Rentalcars.com and OpenTable.

What do I do with it?

Priceline.com is mainly a site that allows you to find the best priced airfare and hotels. Much like Expedia, though, you can do a lot with companies belonging to the Priceline mini-empire. Kayak is a well-regarded for its usefulness for those with flexible travel plans looking for the cheapest airfare options, while OpenTable is a real-time restaurant-reservation service,

Is it a Good Investment Opportunity?

Priceline certainly has a strong hold on the travel industry, but like any internet-based company that was started in the mid-90s, it’s better days are likely behind it. The stock is up 5.34% so far this year.

Yelp

Yelp Inc. (YELP) is perhaps the best known and most comprehensive site for user-generated reviews of businesses and services. Even more so than TripAdvisor, you’re probably familiar with the red stickers boasting “People love us on Yelp!” adorning the doors and windows of local businesses.

What do I do with it?

As of last year, Yelp.com had 135 million monthly visitors and over 95 million reviews, so as such, it can be a great resource for finding great restaurants and other amenities in a new city. Also, they feature a thorough list of what you can expect from different businesses (pricing, free Wifi, etc.) that can be very helpful for travelers in a pinch.

Is it a Good Investment Opportunity?

The common wisdom (and 5-year stock charts) will tell you that Yelp peaked in early 2014. They’ve also seen a bit of controversy over the years, as criticism has arisen from businesses questioning the legitimacy of some of Yelps, reviews and claiming they use bullying tactics in order to get businesses to promote them. That said, despite the controversy, aside from TripAdvisor, no company seems to have stepped in to really rival Yelp. The stock is down 0.83% so far this year.

Hertz

Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (HTZ) is a US-based rental car company with international locations in 150 countries across the globe. Unlike the other companies listed above, it’s no internet upstart - Hertz has been around since 1918, when it was founded in Chicago with a dozen Model T Ford (F) cars.

What do I do with it?

Rent cars for travel. It’s as simple as that.

Is it a Good Investment Opportunity?

Well, Hertz is certainly cheap, at $11.08 a share...but in the wake of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft, it’s safe to say that old-school car rental companies like Hertz may have to innovate dramatically if they’re going to survive in a rapidly changing auto-rental economy. The stock is down 22.14% so far this year.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
YELP Yelp Inc. 34.08 -0.38 -1.10 1,015,045 Trade
EXPE Expedia Group Inc. 135.10 -1.37 -1.00 1,554,672 Trade
PCLN BKNG Calfrac Well Services Ltd. n/a n/a n/a n/a
HTZ Hertz Global Holdings Inc 14.90 -0.17 -1.13 5,086,043 Trade
TRIP TripAdvisor Inc. 44.87 -1.00 -2.18 1,424,729 Trade
F Ford Motor Company 10.20 -0.06 -0.58 38,505,641 Trade
MSFT Microsoft Corporation 136.62 0.20 0.15 48,992,364 Trade

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