Skift Take

A half dozen travel companies, including Southwest, Delta, United Continental, Wynn Resorts, Marriott and the Priceline Group have seen fairly massive -- more than 50% gains -- in their market caps compared with this time last year, as the big keep getting bigger. Hotels dominate the world's 15 largest publicly traded travel companies.

Editor’s note: Skift is two years old as of today, and we’re rolling out a week of special travel industry coverage. This is one of a series you can find in full here, as we roll out these stories.

The Priceline Group, which completed its $2.6 billion acquisition of dining reservations platform OpenTable last week, is now the largest publicly traded travel company by market cap ($64.91 billion) and the only online travel agency among the top 15 as it edged out Las Vegas Sands, which held the number one spot about a year ago.

Skift took the pulse of the world’s 15 Largest Travel Companies of 2014 by Market Cap [see chart below] on July 28, and compared them with our mid-year compilation in 2013.

It’s been a banner year for the hotel industry and that’s reflected in the 2014 ranking as there are seven hotel-related companies on the list, including three casino hotels, and they supplanted airlines, which dominated the 2013 ranking.

The hotel-related companies included in the 2014 ranking are Las Vegas Sands (2), Galaxy Entertainment (4), Hilton Worldwide (8), Wynn Resorts (9), Marriott (11), Host Hotels & Resorts (14), and Starwood (15).

With the exit of Ryanair, Singapore Airlines, and Lufthansa from the 15 Largest Travel Companies of 2014, all of which made the ranking a year earlier, airlines failed to dominate the 2014 ranking. Only four airlines, namely Delta (5), American Airlines Group (6), Southwest Airlines (10), and United Continental (13), appear in the 2014 ranking compared with six airlines a year earlier.

Each airline, all of which are U.S. airlines, in the 2014 ranking has been through mergers, namely Delta-Northwest, American Airlines-US Airways, Southwest-Airtran, and United-Continental. American was absent from last year’s list, but post-merger it’s in much better shape.

The scattershot economic climate in Europe may have a lot to do with the exit of Ryanair, Lufthansa, and to some extent Singapore Airlines from the top 15 so far this year.

One of the the big market-cap losers — only in terms of rankings mid-year in 2014 versus mid-year 2013 — was Starwood, with its ranking falling to 15th in 2014, from 10th in 2013, despite the fact that its market cap increased 24.3% to $15.23 billion in the periods under scrutiny.

Starwood has faced the challenge of relatively weak demand in Europe, and the slowdown of the Chinese economy, where Starwood has gone all-in.

Amadeus, the sole global distribution system and airline tech company in the rankings, saw its market cap ranking drop from seventh in 2013 to 12th in 2014 despite the fact that its market cap climbed 28% to $18.17 billion to date in 2014.

Carnival Corp., too, which is tentatively bouncing back from its disastrous 2012 (Costa Concordia) and 2013 (Carnival Triumph), saw its market-cap ranking fall from to seventh in 2014, from fourth a year earlier, despite a modest market-cap gain of 4.99% to $28.36 billion in 2014.

The biggest market-cap gainers percentage-wise in 2014 were Southwest (121.2%), Delta (106.4%), United Continental (68.2%), Wynn Resorts (67.18%), and Marriott (57.57%).

Southwest, which is getting ready to bolster its international service over the next few years, rose in the 2014 ranking to 10th from 13th a year earlier.

Hilton Worldwide, which takes the 8th position with a market cap of $25.19 billion in 2014, didn’t appear in the 2013 ranking at all because it was still a private company. Private equity giant Blackstone brought it public in December 2013.

In addition to Priceline’s and Amadeus’ status as the sole online travel agency and global distribution/airline tech companies, respectively, in the 2014 ranking, Disney (3) maintained its solitary status as the only theme park entry this year and Carnival Corp. (7) retained its status as the only cruise line.

There were no car rental companies among the 15 Largest Travel Companies of 2014 by Market Cap as Hertz, which ranked 12th in the 2013 ranking, didn’t make the top 15 in 2014.

Which brings up the question of ground transportation company Uber and the changing nature of startup financing.

At its current $17 billion valuation, privately held Uber would have been among the 15 Largest Travel Companies of 2014 by Market Cap had it been a public company and gone the IPO route, which companies in its position have traditionally done.

And, Uber may have been considerably higher than a potential 15th in the 2014 ranking if you believe Uber investor and Benchmark general partner Bill Gurley’s arguments that Uber’s valuation should be considerably higher than $17 billion.

Meanwhile, here’s the 2014 ranking among public companies through July 28:

The 15 Largest Travel Companies of 2014 by Market Cap

Company Stock Symbol Stock Exchange Market Cap 2013 Revenue 2014 Rank* 2013 Rank Market Gap % Gain
1. Priceline Group PCLN Nasdaq $64.91B $6.79B 1 2 53.37%
2. Las Vegas Sands LVS NYSE $59.73B $13.76B 2 1 39.81%
3. Walt Disney DIS NYSE $47.19B** $14.1B*** 3 3 34.86%
4. Galaxy Entertainment 0027 HKG $35.74B $8.52B 4 N/A N/A
5. Delta Air Lines DAL NYSE $32.55B $37.77B 5 5 106.40%
6. American Airlines Group AAL Nasdaq $29.41B $25.8B 6 N/A N/A
7. Carnival Corp. CCL NYSE $28.36B $15.45B 7 4 4.99%
8. Hilton Worldwide HLT NYSE $25.19B $9.73B 8 N/A N/A
9. Wynn Resorts WYNN Nasdaq $21.3B $5.62B 9 8 67.18%
10. Southwest Airlines LUV NYSE $20.53B $17.69B 10 13 121.20%
11. Marriott MAR Nasdaq $19.35B $12.78B 11 9 57.57%
12. Amadeus AMS BME $18.17B $4.16B 12 7 28.04%
13. United Continental UAL NYSE $17.55B $38.27B 13 11 68.20%
14. Host Hotels & Resorts HST NYSE $17.41B $5.16B 14 N/A N/A
15. Starwood Hotels HOT NYSE $15.23B $6.11B 15 10 24.32%

* Market cap data captured July 28, 2014
** The Walt Disney Co.’s market cap was $150.77 billion, but since its Parks and Resorts unit accounted for 31.3% of total revenue in 2013 we attributed 31.3% of Walt Disney’s market cap to its travel businesses
*** Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ 2013 revenue
Source: Google Finance, public documents


The Daily Newsletter

Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: airlines, cars, cruise, hotels, priceline, skifttwo

Photo credit: sees mobile as much more than a way to ramp up mobile bookings, but as a way to win over and engage customers. Pictured is a iOS screenshot.

Up Next

Loading next stories