Digital

TripAdvisor to End TV Ad Blackout With Focus on Emotion, Not Price

@denschaal

May 07, 2014 7:30 am

Skift Take

TripAdvisor and travel and expense company Concur are soul mates of sorts. Separately and coincidentally, on May 6 they both touted their visions of facilitating the “perfect trip.” TripAdvisor plans on emphasizing this experiential messaging in its upcoming ad campaign, and doesn’t plan on stooping to the price-comparison thrust of its rivals.

— Dennis Schaal

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TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor launched its first national TV ad campaign in the U.S. in September, but the company has been missing from the airwaves in 2014. TripAdvisor


Both TripAdvisor CEO Steve Kaufer and CFO Julie Bradley were on message, separately stating that it was time to “retool” after the company’s less-than-succesful 2013 TV advertising debut.

Speaking during TripAdvisor’s first quarter earnings call May 6, Kaufer said TripAdvisor will be back on TV within the next couple of weeks in the U.S. and two international markets after being absent since last year, and having recently¬†switched advertising agencies.

But don’t expect Kayak-style “search one and done” spots or Trivago-esque commercials emphasizing finding the “ideal hotel at the best price.”

Kaufer said TripAdvisor’s new TV ads will go for something with “more emotions” than in some of its previous ads.

“You won’t see it as a direct sort of price comparison, hit-you-over-the-head-type ad,” Kaufer said, because TripAdvisor is much more about the experience and the perfect trip.

Kaufer said he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the new ads.

Although TripAdvisor increased its 2014 revenue guidance from growth in the mid- to high-20s to the low-30s, the company didn’t include a spurt from the upcoming TV ad campaign in the forecast, although it clearly hopes for a bump.

CFO Bradley is bullish on the potential of TripAdvisor’s TV advertising.

“For TV, specifically, I think that we’ve seen other competitors, and the travel industry has done quite well in TV, using that as a marketing vehicle,” Bradley said. “We have a lot of headroom for brand amplification. So we are hopeful that we will enjoy successes there and look to increase our spend in the future.”

Bradley also had some interesting things to say about the channels that TripAdvisor advertises in — especially in light of comments that Kaufer has made in the past about Facebook advertising not pulling its weight.

“In the past, we’ve invested in other traffic acquisition initiatives, social initiatives,” Bradley said. “We measure that success. If we don’t find what’s the ROI that we’re looking at, we definitely have the discipline to let it drop to the bottom line.”

Whether it is looking at TripAdvisor’s recent traffic numbers on desktop and mobile, including app downloads, and the proliferation of its ratings, reviews and even its vacation rental properties, TripAdvisor is clearly “firing on all cylinders,” as Kaufer put it.

That being said, TripAdvisor has a lot riding on its upcoming TV campaign.

As Kaufer put it, “stay tuned.”

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