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TripAdvisor is just getting around to addressing all of the massive restaurant content that it already has. As metasearch players already know, Yelp and OpenTable should pay attention as TripAdvisor tries to eat their lunch.
A financial analyst told TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer that in a recent search of the site the top-rated restaurants in Boston were for a sandwich place and a gelato shop.
Kaufer chuckled at the query and said he recently brought up the same example internally at the company.
“That’s a relatively poor excuse for the lack of attention we’ve spent on restaurants and attractions,” Kaufer said.
Speaking June 3 at the Goldman Sachs Lodging, Gaming, Restaurant and Leisure Conference, Kaufer said TripAdvisor plans to spend the resources this year to begin to bring restaurants and attractions on the site up to speed.
“It is a big growth opportunity for us,” Kaufer said.
In that regard, TripAdvisor recently acquired France-based lafourchette, a restaurant reservations platform that competes with OpenTable, among others.
Kaufer said TripAdvisor still wants to list the sub and gelato shops, but wants to make restaurant content more relevant for the traveler who wants to dine with his or her significant other.
On other matters, Kaufer argued that TripAdvisor’s main differentiation is that it can help travelers plan their entire trips, and not just make a flight or hotel booking, which is the prime endeavor of online travel agencies.
“We think it will be really hard for anyone else, even Google” to say to travelers that they are a better means for planning the entire trip, Kaufer said.
“We think of our primary edge as the content moat that we have,” Kaufer said.
He doesn’t believe that other competitors have a chance of breaching that moat anytime soon.