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At least TripAdvisor doesn’t operate an airline yet.
It is doing just about everything else in travel.
A Los Angeles-based data company, Factual, announced it will begin providing TripAdvisor with restaurant data “to complement TripAdvisor’s dining options and reviews.”
“The data which Factual provides includes everything from location, hours of operation, cuisine type, valet parking etc.,” a Factual spokesperson says.
Factual states it offers pricing, rating and delivery option data for more than half a million restaurants.
“Additionally, user-generated edits to the data (a user might make an edit on the TripAdvisor site that the restaurant moved, or hours changed, etc.) are fed back to Factual to keep its master Global Places data set fresh and accurate,” the spokesperson says.
TripAdvisor is renowned for its hotel reviews, and in the past didn’t try to monetize its restaurant pages much, but now it is getting more serious, and this could give indigestion to Yelp, Facebook, Groupon, Zagat, and other sites with restaurant reviews and offerings.
Consider all that TripAdvisor has going on.
In addition to expanding its restaurant coverage, it recently started rolling out hotel metasearch on the desktop to compete with Kayak, Trivago and other hotel-search sites. TripAdvisor launched flight metasearch several years ago but hasn’t done much with it.
TripAdvisor already competes with Google, Bing and others for online travel agency and hotel advertising.
It has a hotel-transaction site in SniqueAway to compete with Groupon Getaways, LivingSocial Escapes and Jetsetter, and TripAdvisor a year ago launched Tingo, which provides hotel discounts when the rate drops, to compete against any of a number of hotel-booking sites.
Guidebooks? Yes, TripAdvisor has an array of vacation guides, advice and forums flowing out of its Travel Inspiration section, and its offline City Guide apps assuredly have made executives at LonelyPlanet take notice.
Free from former parent Expedia and now broadening its restaurant product, TripAdvisor is on its way to becoming an all-purpose travel site.
Someone please tell TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer it would be ill-advised to buy an airline right now: The profit margins in advertising are mammoth compared with the skimpy margins in the airline business.