Barbara Messing, CMO of TripAdvisor, spoke yesterday at the Skift Global Forum.

She leads the global marketing efforts as TripAdvisor continues to expand its global footprint as the world’s largest travel site. Barbara leads all consumer marketing activities at TripAdvisor, including brand development and experience, customer relationship marketing, public relations, search engine marketing, traffic acquisition, and mobile partnerships.

Barbara’s talk “The Power of User Data to Build a Travel Brand,” discussed how booking sites can use data to continue improving the customer experience. Here are six quotes we learned:

  • “It seems hard to believe that the only other review website around 14 years ago was Amazon for books. In the earlier days, a chunk of hotels resented TripAdvisor but I think hoteliers have found that TripAdvisor is as helpful for them as for consumers. They use it for feedback on how they’re doing. Some hotels have daily meetings where they review their TripAdvisor reviews. They realize that some of the things consumers don’t like about their hotels are improvable.”
  • “I do not think that we’re evolving into an online travel agent.”
  • “We ask ourselves how do we get folks the content that’s relevant for them in front of them. We partnered with Facebook so if you have a friend or a friend of a friend who has stayed at a hotel, you will see those reviews first. We also let you sort by couples, family travel, singles. The last thing we’ve introduced are tags so you can personalize your search results including boutique, pool, free Wi-Fi. We don’t believe that it’s our role to curate for our travelers. You can’t curate to the world.”
  • “On the content marketing side, we are very lucky because we are a user-generated content brand. Our community creates content for us. Our job is to package the most interesting insights.”
  • “At the top of our list is the validity of our traveler reviews and the ability for consumers to leave their opinions. There would never be a case where TripAdvisor would bias reviews towards properties that we have commercial relationships with.”
  • “We’re early days in the attraction strategy. Our strategy will always be about making sure that consumers have the best access to information and choice.”

Keep track of all the activity at today’s Global Forum by bookmarking our #skiftforum tag.

Photo Credit: Rafat Ali, CEO of Skift (L) interviewing Barbara Messing, CMO of TripAdvisor (R) at the Skift Global Forum in New York City on October 9, 2014. Skift