Restaurants and other in-destination experiences for locals and travelers will play an increasingly important role in TripAdvisor's future over the next few years. They enable TripAdvisor to diversify away from casual leisure travelers toward restaurant and tour patrons who might book way more frequently.
Getting deeper into the sharing economy and dining services, TripAdvisor led an investment round into social dining service EatWith and was integrating its Dine With a Local Chef experiences into TripAdvisor’s restaurant pages starting today.
EatWith, founded in 2012 in San Francisco, enables hosts to lead dining tours and experiences and to sell them to customers on its site. These tours or experiences sometimes include celebrity chefs, as hosts, showing off their culinary skills in their own restaurants or homes.
The company remains independent. TripAdvisor is a minority investor, as is existing investor Greylock Partners, which participated with the latest funding round. The parties did not provide any terms of the funding; EatWith’s only disclosed funding was an $8 million Series A round led by Greylock in 2014.
EatWith states it offers services from 650 hosts in 200 cities in 50 countries. TripAdvisor is integrating EatWith’s Dine With a Local Chef experiences into TripAdvisor’s restaurant pages. TripAdvisor site visitors can read and view traveler reviews and photos to research experiences and dining options before navigating to EatWith to complete their reservations. Separately, but also on its restaurant pages, TripAdvisor customers can make restaurant reservations through TripAdvisor-owned the Fork, which competes with the Priceline Group’s more-U.S.-focused OpenTable.
EatWith services are available to consumers from Tripadvisor’s 48 markets worldwide and they cover services in 10 cities, namely Barcelona, San Francisco, New York, Sao Paulo, Paris, Rome, London, Milan, Amsterdam and Tel Aviv.
As of the end of 2015, TripAdvisor had user reviews of 3.8 million restaurants and it has made a bevy of acquisitions in the dining space, including LaFourchette, or The Fork, in 2014, and a series of regional reservations platforms, primarily in Europe. In 2016, TripAdvisor invested in Eatigo, a discount restaurant reservations site in Thailand and Singapore.
“The investment funding we’ve received from TripAdvisor and Greylock Partners will be instrumental in driving even more interest in our popular communal dining experiences,” said Susan Kim, CEO of EatWith, in a statement. “Our goal is to continue to democratize the industry by matching adventurous travelers with culinary entrepreneurs who want to share their passion for food.”
In the online sector, TripAdvisor is competing with the Priceline Group’s OpenTable, Yelp’s SeatMe and an assortment of local dining startups and apps around the world.
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Photo credit: An EatWith host-chef wraps up a culinary display of her talents. EatWith