INFILTRATING PRICELINE: There's A $24 Billion Internet Sensation In New York's Backyard That NOBODY Talks About


Did you know that Priceline is a $24 billion company?

It is.

The company is a stunning success.

Since the worst parts of the recession in 2008, Priceline’s share price has risen a remarkable 500% — from ~$50 in Oct. 2008 to ~$480 today.

According to a BI Intelligence report, the trick has been aggressive international growth fuelled through acquisitions. 

Here’s the funny thing about Priceline, though.

While most companies with that kind of success would run around trying to get tons of press attention for it, Priceline is actually VERY secretive.

There was a BusinessWeek profile a couple years ago, but since then, PR has been on lockdown.

This strategy may make a lot of sense for Priceline – why mess with success? – but for the rest of us its very unsatisfying.

It’s strange: the biggest deal in New York tech right now is probably Foursquare or Tumblr; Priceline, which has its headquarters in New York’s backyard, Connecticut, is about 40X bigger than either of those startups.

We want to know more about this stunning success. So we asked the company for a tour of its HQ. It declined. 

We went anyway.

Priceline's offices are in Norwalk, Connecticut, so we head to the Harlem — 125th Street Metro-North station to hop on a train.

It's raining. Fortunately, we have coffee. The wind destroyed our umbrella, so we're hoping the weather will settle before we get to Norwalk.

The plastic comforts of Metro-North keep us warm on the way to Connecticut. That guy doesn't look too happy to have his picture taken.

We've arrived in South Norwalk — or SoNo, if you're cool. Norwalk is a small city of less than 90,000, and it's sandwiched between the wealthier Westport to the north and Darien/Stamford to the south.

Time to make our way to 800 Connecticut Avenue, where Priceline's located. Cabs are at the ready. It's a $12.00 trip (including tip) from the station to Priceline.

And here we are. Priceline's offices are located in River Park, an office complex of the kind common in suburban Connecticut. Priceline gets top billing (and colour) on the entrance sign.

The actual office structure is pretty enormous. Considering how attention-shy and old-media corporate Priceline appears to be, it's no surprise that the company is located in Norwalk.

The weather's still grim. Here's Connecticut Ave., aka Route 1, which stretches from Maine to Florida.

Like any good suburban headquarters, River Park has plenty of parking. And peoples' houses in its backyard.

More BMWs, more houses.

We approach. Although Priceline's HQ is in Norwalk, the company is international, operating in 101 countries and 41 languages. In fact, international operations accounted for 82% of consolidated operating income in 2010.

After getting our fill of the parking lot, we let ourselves into the building. It takes security about 30 seconds to kick us out. Maybe we should've told them we were shareholders instead of reporters.

How could you not want to work at an office where such lovely abstract sculptures greet you every day?

With no other choice, we circle around back. We can't get too close because employees are outside smoking, but you can catch a glimpse of the complex's enormous atrium through the sheer glass wall.

Because of the bad weather, the employee area out back is basically empty. Since the worst parts of the recession in 2008, Priceline's share price has risen a remarkable 500% — from ~$50 in Oct. 2008 to ~$480 today.

Check out this lovely moss-covered-bridge-and-stream arrangement on Priceline's campus, which is very Connecticut. Maybe when your company becomes worth a couple dozen billion, you can have a bridge of your own.

Care for a picnic?

Just as it's time to leave — who would've thought someone skulking around corporate headquarters with a camera would get weird looks! — the sky begins to brighten. The sun shines on Priceline.

We call for a cab to take us back to the train station. Could've booked a rental car through Priceline, but considering we only spent a couple hours in Connecticut, that might've been a little much.

Back on Metro-North. At least we know the Business Insider office will let us in.

Now see some offices we did get into

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at