Online travel company Priceline.com Inc. said Wednesday its operating profit fell nearly 10 percent in the first quarter as spending increased for advertising the company's hotel business.

The Norwalk, Connecticut-based company said its first-quarter net operating profit was $7.6 million, or 19 cents per share, compared with a profit of $8.4 million, or 21 cents per share, year earlier.

"We significantly increased our advertising spending in the hotel business," said Priceline Chief Executive Jeffery Boyd. He said the company's revenue would benefit from that advertising in upcoming quarters.

The company's revenue rose 3.7 percent to $241.9 million. Priceline's first-quarter results included the operating results of Bookings B.V., which the company acquired in July.

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