Today we are publishing our latest report for our Research subscription service. This time we bring you A Deep Dive Into TripAdvisor’s Competitive Position in Travel 2017. This is the second installment of our TripAdivsor Deep Dive series, and the landscape looks very different this year than it did last year.

TripAdvisor faces numerous challenges and opportunities in the months and years ahead. Stitching together a profitable full-service online travel brand with diverse revenue streams remains the long-term opportunity. Meeting investor expectations is one of the more urgent challenges.

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For this report we dig into the financials and offer a balanced perspective on TripAdvisor’s future and contribution to online travel. We also speak to numerous industry insiders as well as Stephen Kaufer the CEO of TripAdvisor. Here is a quote from our exclusive interview with Kaufer:

The supply side is going quite well. It perhaps took a little longer than we thought but we now have the two major online travel agencies on board. We have all of the major domestic hotel chains on board and we continue to sign up individual hotels and additional chains around the globe. We pretty much have the Instant Book option on almost every hotel that matters, already. Either directly or through one of their suppliers.

Rival Trivago’s aggressive marketing push and traction in the U.S. has put more impetus on TripAdvisor management to increase revenues per hotel shopper. It will also pressure Trip to maintain marketing budget share of its two biggest customers – Priceline and Expedia – by offering more competitive commissions and CPC rates.

While some revenue impact was expected with the launch of Instant Book, investors and analysts have had a difficult time justifying negative growth rates in 2016. Google also continues to push deeper into TripAdvisor territory with Hotel Ads but also reviews for restaurants, and tours and activities. TripAdvisor built its core business on traffic originating from discoverable search content; the days of free Google traffic are waning.

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Arguably, TripAdvisor is at the center of a bigger debate now playing out in online travel i.e. the full-service platform model versus the specialized service provider. Booking.com has shown how a narrow focus on one segment i.e. hotels can turbo charge a company’s financial performance. Trivago has shown us how extreme ad spend and effective marketing can catapult a brand even in the toughest of markets.

At the same time, platforms like Google and Facebook in the west and Ctrip and WeChat in the east have demonstrated the cost synergies associated with a captive audience. TripAdvisor is somewhere in between. The question is whether Trip will be able to compete as a platform longer-term.

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This is the latest in a series of twice-monthly reports aimed at analyzing the fault lines of disruption in travel. These reports are intended for the busy travel industry decision maker. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 200 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

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