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Disruptive lodging firm, valued more than Hyatt

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

There's something big going on in the travel industry, and Jim Cramer thinks it could generate opportunity.

The "Mad Money" host drew that conclusion after reading about Airbnb in the New York Times. "According to the article, after this latest round of financing, Airbnb will be valued at more than $10 billion," Cramer said. "That's more than hotel giant Hyatt or Wyndham Worldwide."

If you're not familiar with Airbnb, founded in 2008, the company is effectively an online marketplace that lets people rent out their homes or spare rooms to travelers. However, unlike many new Internet companies, Cramer believes the financial position is quite solid.

Matthias Tunger | Digital Vision | Getty Images

"The company raked in $150 million in sales back in 2012, and analysts believe Airbnb can grow that figure to $1 billion in the near future," Cramer said.

Looking at other metrics, the story appears even more compelling. "Airbnb draws in roughly 11 million guests in more than 34,000 cities," Cramer said. "And there are 600,000 listings on the site."

If that doesn't sound like a buy, buy, buy what does? Unfortunately, there is a problem for investors.

Airbnb isn't publicly traded—it's a private company. "Unless you're running one of these gigantic venture capital funds, you can't participate in Airbnb," Cramer said.

Why did the "Mad Money" host devote so much attention to a company that neither you nor he can own?

"Because I believe the strength in Airbnb is a sign that travel and lodging is alive and well," Cramer said. "In fact, I think the industry may be doing better than many Wall Street pros understand."

Therefore Cramer believes investors should take the information outlined above and leverage it against companies that stand to benefit; companies that are publicly traded, that is.

"Two stocks that have a lot in common with Airbnb are TripAdvisor and HomeAway," Cramer said. Currently, they're getting hammered, but they could become very attractive again, as shares come in."

"Or you might consider owning Priceline," Cramer added, "although I'm only a buyer on a pullback."

"And, for a more traditional lodging play, I very much like Starwood," Cramer added.

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Cramer says the Airbnb metrics should not be ignored.

"The $10 billion plus valuation of the privately held Airbnb tells me to take a second look at the travel and lodging related stocks. For me, that's technology travel companies such as Priceline, TripAdvisor, and HomeAway as well as the more traditional Starwood. As the Street digests the message being telegraphed by the Airbnb valuation, I believe it will get excited about all the travel and leisure plays. Get ready," said Cramer.




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