Airbnb vs. Expedia: Two traders debate which is the better travel rebound bet

Travel demand appears to be roaring back.

Online bookings site Booking Holdings rose by more than 1% on Thursday after reporting a 77% increase in gross bookings in its most recent quarter. Competitors Expedia and Airbnb are set to report earnings after the bell Thursday.

CNBC's "Trading Nation" asked its traders which stock they back right now.

"I do prefer Expedia as a trade," said Jeff Kilburg, chief investment officer at Sanctuary Wealth, on Thursday. Expedia "is the leader of international travel in tier one cities… People have pent-up demand to come back to these bigger cities."

"This a website that's a comprehensive tool. You're booking hotels, you're booking cars, you're booking airfare, I'm a user myself… I think we're optimistic about the whole space but specifically Expedia has got the opportunity to move higher as we see demand come back," he added.

Kilburg says a move above $163 would make him even more constructive on the name. This is his buy target level. It traded Thursday at $158.

JC O'Hara, chief market technician at MKM Partners, is betting on Airbnb instead.

"This is the fourth quarterly report that we will receive from the company so we finally have enough fundamental data to spot earning trends. The company IPO'd roughly a year ago so we finally have enough pricing data to spot technical trends," he said during the same interview.

He highlights $130 as one key technical level, one he says "has been defended by the bulls time and time again." Over the past several months, though, the stock has been stuck in a sideways consolidation pattern, he says.

"I believe that the earnings catalyst tonight, if positive, can break Airbnb out of its short-term trading range and head back to the $200 level. So I think tonight's earnings will be critical for the company," he said.


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