Priceline.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeffery Boyd said the U.S. may be one of the online travel agency's biggest areas of growth as it begins a new advertising campaign touting low hotel and rental car rates.

"The biggest growth markets will be eastern Europe and the U.S. over the next couple of years,'" Boyd said in an interview yesterday.

Priceline's revenue has been driven mainly by hotel reservations in Europe, where bookings more than doubled in the third quarter because fewer chains have central reservation systems. U.S. bookings increased 13 percent, Norwalk, Connecticut-based Priceline said in November.

The company, which has expanded through acquisitions - including the July 2005 purchase of Amsterdam-based Bookings BV that gave it access to 18,000 hotels - competes against travel agencies such as Expedia Inc., Sabre Holdings Corp.'s Travelocity and Travelport Ltd.'s Orbitz. Airlines and hotels also lure customers with their own Web sites.

"We have the best hotel inventory in Europe, and we're in the early stages of making that inventory available to U.S. customers,'" said Boyd, who estimated that Priceline has between 7 and 10 percent of the U.S. online travel agency market.

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