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TripAdvisor Suddenly Withdraws Big Ad Campaign

Skift Take

In a December interview, TripAdvisor CEO Steve Kaufer said, “Lord, I hope it works,” referring to the ad campaign. It’s possible that some divine or earthly intervention may be called for early this year to resurrect the campaign.

— Dennis Schaal

Advertising slots on U.S. television stations were filled in January with online travel advertising from the likes of Expedia, Hotwire, Kayak,, Priceline,¬†Trivago and Travelocity, to name a few, but there was one very noticeable absentee — TripAdvisor.

After a shaky test run earlier in 2013, the user review giant kicked off its first national TV advertising campaign in the U.S. in late September, touting its new hotel-price comparison service, and had planned to spend $40 to $50 million on the effort.

TripAdvisor also ran similar ads in France, Spain and Argentina.

But, in the U.S. at least, as rivals were saturating TV time with their own advertisements in January, TripAdvisor was totally silent.

Blacked out.

There are rumblings that TripAdvisor may be reviewing its creative agency, but TripAdvisor didn’t address that particular question when asked about it.

While TripAdvisor may not be satisfied with the impact of its advertising campaign and may be looking to make wholesale changes, the other possibility is that it is continuing to have an issue with its hotel metasearch feature, which launched in 2013.

But if that were the case, it probably wouldn’t have launched the ad campaign in September, although it was highly anticipated.

A TripAdvisor spokesperson issued the following statement about TripAdvisor’s advertising campaign — or lack thereof in January:

“As we noted on our Q3 earnings call [on October 23, 2013], we are seeing some positive signs from this campaign, and we continue to invest in 2014.

“With any marketing campaign, you build on what is working and evolve the strategy based on the messages you want to communicate. We are always looking at ways to amplify the brand around the globe through a variety of channels.”

TripAdvisor intends to comment further about the ad campaign durings its fourth quarter and full-year earnings call on February 11.

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