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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.
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 Booking.com, Expedia, Kayak and Trivago: “Booking.com 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.”