Digital Booking Sites

TripAdvisor acquires Wanderfly to build out its social travel efforts


Oct 02, 2012 10:43 am

Skift Take

More of a tuck-in picking-up-assets acquisition for Tripadvisor as it ramps up its social travel efforts, as a layer on top of its giant behemoth of a machine.

— Dennis Schaal

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It’s another pivot for Wanderfly — into the arms of hotel-review site TripAdvisor.

TripAdvisor has acquired “travel inspiration site” Wanderfly, though no more details were forthcoming.

Wanderfly had raised around $1.4 million in funding to date, and knowing TripAdvisor’s acquisition pattern of picking up sites/apps on the cheap and Wanderfly’s lack of traction in the market, it was likely a small amount.

But the deal shows the importance that TripAdvisor places on its first-mover status on Facebook as Wanderfly is all “social” and “discovery.” As it faces challenges from Google on one end of the spectrum, CEO Steve Kaufer is obsessed — correctly — with Facebook, and building out TripAdvisor’s presence there.

Two theories are making the rounds about TripAdvisor’s motivations for the acquisition.

One idea is that TripAdvisor can leverage Wanderfly’s user data to better inform advertisers about traveler intent. But, Travis Katz, CEO of social travel site Gogobot argues that Wanderfly’s user base and consequent data would be too small to be of much value to TripAdvisor.

Katz points to AppData showing that Wanderfly has about 2,000 monthly active users, compared to about 1 million for Gogobot. “TripAdvisor is probably looking for a team to help them build out the social part,” Katz says.

Founded in 2009, Wanderfly came on the scene as a social travel site, emphasizing a wide  choice of trip types, recommendations from Facebook friends, activities’ listings from Foursquare, and booking options from travel partners.

But Wanderfly veered away from a limited “travel” focus and toward a broader city discovery emphasis with a Pinterest twist. Wanderfly calls its current product “visual travel discovery.”


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