Expedia, TripAdvisor and Booking shares are going nowhere

US online travel sites Expedia, TripAdvisor and Booking Holdings make their living peddling dream vacations in far-flung locales. Their shares, though, are going nowhere. Dismal results last week sent stocks plunging. Google was to blame. Over the past year, the search giant ramped up its push into the travel sector. It now features its own travel services such as Google Flights more prominently. It has also started cramming more ads at the top of searches. This has lessened the travel agents’ visibility in Google search results. With these so-called “free links” getting pushed further down the page, both Expedia and TripAdvisor are forced to spend more on click ads with Google. They do not have much choice. Google dominates the online search market, holding at least three- quarters of it… With no easy path to better growth and margins, investors are bailing out. Shares in Expedia are down 30 per cent over the past week, TripAdvisor has lost nearly a quarter, while Booking shares are down 7 per cent. Those wanting to invest in travel should take a trip on Google parent Alphabet’s shares. The internet giant is doing to online travel agents what they once did to their bricks-and-mortar rivals.