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Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. (OWW): Is This the Best Online Travel Company?

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Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:OWW)Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:OWW) has rewarded investors with a 250% return so far this year. However, if you weren’t in on it, don’t worry. What we need to establish is whether or not Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:OWW) is a better investment option than peers, Priceline.com Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN) and Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE).

Black and red

Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:OWW) has seen revenue improvements over the past three years, but growth has been slow and revenue still isn’t close to where it was in 2008. On top of that, Orbitz continues to lose money.

On the other hand, three of the last four quarters have been profitable. Investors are attracted to this because they love companies that are successfully managing a turnaround. In other words, returns on these types of businesses have the potential to be enormous.

That said, this can’t be classified as a turnaround just yet. Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:OWW) must deliver full year profits, (and despite the industry performing well), there are many questions about the health of the consumer on a global scale. If the industry falters, then it will be very difficult for Orbitz to show consistent improvement on the bottom-line.

Online performance

Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:OWW) owns several online brands, including Orbitz.com, CheapTickets.com, ebookers.com, HotelClub.com, and RatesToGo.com. While this demonstrates diversification, it’s not impressive on a relative basis to peers.

Priceline.com Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN) owns Priceline.com, Agoda.com, Kayak.com, and Booking.com.

Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE) owns Expedia.com, Hotels.com, and Hotwire.com.

Priceline.com and Expedia have a lot more exposure to consumers. The global traffic rankings for the aforementioned websites are from Alex.com.

Orbitz Brands

Orbitz.com: 1,514

CheapTickets.com: 4,924

ebookers.com: 15,187

HotelClub.com: 12.446

RatesToGo.com: 66,653

Priceline.com Brands

Priceline.com: 682

Kayak.com: 1,009

Booking.com: 150

Agoda.com: 899

Expedia Brands

Expedia.com: 487

Hotels.com: 711

Hotwire.com: 1,428

The numbers below, provided by comScore, indicate industry 2012 page-view market share for Expedia.com, Priceline.com, and Orbitz.com.

Expedia.com: 31.6%

Priceline.com: 17.3%

Orbitz.com: 12.9%

Results

Not surprisingly, Priceline.com Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN) and Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE) have been more consistent performers. Expedia’s revenue has consistently improved. Profits have also been steady, but earnings declined in 2012, and the company reported a loss last quarter.

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