Skift Take

TripAdvisor claims it gives its subsidiaries the freedom to operate independently, but how it works in reality may be a somewhat different story.

Groupon may be floundering, Travelzoo’s Local Deals are under pressure, and Jetsetter is up for sale, but TripAdvisor’s Steve Kaufer still loves the flash sales sector.

TripAdvisor launched flash-sales site SniqueAway┬áin 2010, and Kaufer, speaking at the PhoCusWright conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, said today “we’re very happy with the site,” which is profitable.

SniqueAway has “mouth-watering pictures,” and people can find great hotel deals, Kaufer said, adding that the advantage of letting its sub-brands operate independently is that they can grow without worries about distractions from the requirements of the core business.

Kaufer also commented about TripAdvisor’s recent acquisition of Wanderfly, saying TripAdvisor isn’t particularly good at the inspiration side of travel when it comes to choosing a hotel, and hopes to add some new inspiration-oriented features.

Referring to TripAdvisor’s acquisitions over the years of sites ranging from Wanderfly (travel inspiration) and EveryTrail (maps and social) to WhereIveBeen, Kaufer said TripAdvisor has never made an “aqui-hire,” meaning buying a company merely to hire a team.

On hot-button issues, Kaufer said he was surprised about the timing of Priceline’s acquisition of Kayak, and speculated that it might amount to a Priceline hedge against the power of Google.

Kaufer conceded that questions about the veracity of TripAdvisor’s reviews may be a question that’s raised for “evermore.”

He characterized fraud as an “insignificant” issue when you read a thousand reviews about a hotel, and noted that users constantly tell him that they’ve used the site to pick a hotel, and found the reviews to be reliable.


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Tags: flash sales, kayak, tripadvisor

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