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Up 40% ytd, is Cramer still bullish on Priceline?

Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 | 6:24 PM ET
You need to buy Priceline.com: Cramer
Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 | 6:25 PM ET
TripAdvisor reported strong earnings, while Expedia missed disastrously. Which travel stock is a buy? With Mad Money host Jim Cramer.

(Click for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment)

Considering the sharp gains year to date and weak results from rival Expedia, is Cramer still bullish on Priceline ?

He is.

The Mad Money host has been a fan of this stock for quite some time, in part due to his belief that the company is well positioned to win share in overseas markets. "Two thirds of their booking business is European—and I have heard, over and over this earnings season, that Europe is bottoming or even taking a turn for the better," Cramer said.

However, there's something else underway that Cramer thinks is bullish for the stock and it's not nearly as apparent – ironically it involves changes made by another online travel website, TripAdvisor.

"TripAdvisor has made significant changes to its website and in the process has transformed itself into a powerhouse in the online travel sector," Cramer explained.

The significant changes involve the way in which the TripAdvisor website works.

"Before, when you searched for a hotel, links to the online travel agents such as Priceline and Expedia would immediately pop up. The new model, though, is designed to keep you on TripAdvisor's site for a longer period of time," Cramer explained.

That would seem bearish for Priceline – but Cramer thinks it's just the opposite.

Westend61 | Getty Images

"Although there's less click through, there's also less waste. People who do click through are much more likely to actually book travel - three times more likely," Cramer said.

Aware of the shift, Priceline has made a strategic move.

"Priceline is pouring money into TripAdvisor so that its listings appear on top," Cramer said. Research shows when people see something they like, they are more likely to click immediately, rather than scroll down.

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Therefore, Cramer expects Priceline's investment to pay off in spades – and he's a buyer ahead of earnings scheduled for next week. "Ideally you want to buy half before and half after, just in case Wall Street reacts poorly to the company's results," Cramer said.

"The stock's $878 price tag might seem daunting, but the fact is, Priceline's only trading at 18 times next year's earnings with an 18% long-term growth rate. Considering the potential catalysts, that's darned cheap," Cramer said.

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com

Questions, comments, suggestions for the "Mad Money" website? madcap@cnbc.com

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