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6 Blunt Quotes About Competition and Success from TripAdvisor’s CEO


Dec 06, 2013 10:00 am

Skift Take

Now that TripAdvisor is a standalone public company, CEO Steve Kaufer is getting downright candid about the competition. He has lots to say about rivals or would-be rivals, including former parent Expedia, Google, Amazon, and Kayak, among others.

— Dennis Schaal

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 / CBS New

TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer appearing on CBS News. / CBS New

It’s been two years since Expedia Inc. spun off TripAdvisor into a public company, and CEO Steve Kaufer, it appears, is finally finding his game.

Not from an operational perspective: TripAdvisor has long been a successful company, and the envy of many in the travel industry.

As Kaufer boasts in an interview with Xconomy: “We’re amazingly profitable. We’ve had a long, steady stream of growth, growth, growth.”

But, two years on and now heading a public company after so many years as part of the Expedia family, Kaufer is apparently feeling comfortable enough to speak very candidly about the competition — and sometimes surprisingly so.

The Xconomy interview is worth reading in full, and Skift did its own interview of Kaufer in October.

But, from the Xconomy interview here are some of our favorite Kaufer zingers about rivals and frenemies currently in the travel industry and those outside it:

TripAdvisor versus Expedia: “The [TripAdvisor] product gets better and better every night, with more reviews and more photos. There aren’t a lot of others like that on the Web. … Expedia doesn’t get better overnight; someone has to get another hotel onto the system.”

On Google: “Google, they spend a lot of money, but really they’re not doing much.”

On, Expedia, Kayak and Trivago: “ and Expedia have reviews, but can only tell you about what they sell.”

On potential new entrants: “Amazon could create a travel tab and license Expedia there, or TripAdvisor, or somebody else. Which they did seven or eight years ago, and it was a complete disaster for them.”

On TV Advertising Campaign: “For more than a decade, I said we’re not doing TV [ads], we don’t need to. … So even though I have a 10-year bias, we’re doing it. Lord, I hope it works. But if it doesn’t, it’s not going to kill the company.”

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