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Evercore Lifts PT on Google (GOOG) to $1,450; Travel Opportunity Could Take Flight

March 24, 2014 3:07 PM EDT Send to a Friend
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Evercore Partners maintains its Overweight rating on Google, Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) and raises its price target from $1,400 to $1,450.

Analyst Ken Sena noted that the bumped-higher target reflects positive implications for Google in the travel industry. While Google’s Hotel Finder is a more recent example of the challenge to the rate parity status quo ... it underscores a potentially more important industry trend in travel, namely that Search, Mobile and Social, thanks to the user’s unique identifier, is allowing for hoteliers to use opaque pricing more freely as way of competing with the OTAs’ greater marketing efficiency. In addition, these unique identifiers are allowing hoteliers to integrate their first-party CRM data through booking engine interconnection as a means to drive higher marketing efficiency for hoteliers (essentially, “customizable audiences”), the analyst said.

Integration of first-party data through deeper IBE integration is allowing hoteliers to introduce lists of their most valued customers to Search and Meta that is synced with other personally identifiable information (PII) on travelers to drive higher marketing performance across device in addition to enabling more examples of opaque pricing (which, again, challenge the longstanding notion of OTA rate parity with their partners). As support, we are hearing from CRM-focused ad agencies and booking engines that Google’s new RLSAs (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) are having such an effect, the analyst noted.

Finally, while we can appreciate the feedback that Google’s travel efforts have been relatively inconsequential to date, the same could have been said about Google’s retail efforts before it introduced Product Listing Ads (PLAs) which provided Google with the merchant inventory data it needed to create a better shopping experience. We see the same potential here for its Hotel Price Ads (HPAs) through the booking engine integration it requires, the analyst concluded.

For an analyst ratings summary and ratings history on Google click here. For more ratings news on Google click here.

Shares of Google closed at $1183.04 yesterday.




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