With more traditional and bigger-ticket online travel sectors such as hotels and airlines reaching maturity in the U.S., and with growth in those areas starting to plateau in regions like Western Europe, Priceline is widening its service reach by making a multibillion-dollar bet on the world’s largest online dining reservation service. And while Priceline for much of the last decade expanded by acquiring overseas companies, OpenTable, like its most recent buyout target, Kayak, is a U.S. company that is viewed as poised to grow rapidly overseas. Analysts said last week that Priceline’s global and technological proficiency could help accelerate growth of OpenTable, which was founded in 1998, the same year as Priceline. Its 2013 revenue rose 18% over 2012, to $190.1 million. “Pre- and intra-travel decisions by individuals will likely become more important to booking choices,” UBS analyst Eric Sheridan wrote in a June 13 note to investors. “And OTAs [online travel agencies] will need to further diversify their models. Get the full story at Travel Weekly