TripAdvisor’s New Ad Campaign Puts Its Own Stamp on Destinations

Skift Take

Give TripAdvisor credit for emphasizing experience over price in its much-anticipated new ad campaign. The “New York” and “Rome” spots drive home a point about the value of TripAdvisor, but the ads may fall short of creating something memorable.

— Dennis Schaal

After being absent from TV advertising for around six months, TripAdvisor unveiled its much-anticipated second advertising campaign — this one in the U.S. and France with the expectation that a campaign will also debut in Australia in early June.

At least several spots feed the campaign, which began nationally in the U.S. on May 19, and we found two 15-second spots called “New York” and “Rome,” and a 30-second commercial contrasting the trips of one traveler who consulted TripAdvisor and another who didn’t.

Like at least one of the ads that were introduced last Fall and then withdrawn at the end of the year, “New York” features a woman in a hotel room gazing out a window, in this case at the New York City skyline.

In the ad, there are no appeals about using TripAdvisor to find the best price as Kayak and Trivago do, but TripAdvisor instead emphasizes its millions of hotel reviews, and how travelers really need to “Visit TripAdvisor New York” to get the most out of a destination experience.

The narrator in the ad states: “Don’t just visit New York. Visit TripAdvisor New York. With millions of reviews, TripAdvisor makes any destination better.”

A similar ad called “Rome” makes the same point, albeit in a more humorous, and less-inspirational way.

A third spot, this one 30 seconds in duration, portrays a split screen and follows the varied fortunes of two couples, one of which wisely used TripAdvisor for advice, and one which didn’t.

TripAdvisor has a lot of credibility riding on this new campaign, although an expected bump in site or app traffic isn’t built into its 2014 revenue guidance.

TripAdvisor withdrew its first-ever national ad campaign late last year, with officials stating that they used the first few months of 2014 to draw lessons from 2013 ad blitz, and wanted something more emotionally powerful and iconic in its 2014 comeback ad campaign.

In an acknowledgement that the 2013 ad campaign fell short of TripAdvisor’s goals, in the past few months TripAdvisor switched advertising agencies and brought in Johannes Leonardo to help guide the 2014 campaign.

Judging from these three advertisements, TripAdvisor may be falling short of its goals — again — in terms of making a powerful, memorable statement.

However, let’s withhold judgment because there may be additional spots to round out the campaign.

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