Skift Take

CEO Stephen Kaufer seems confident that the "new TripAdvisor" will be successful. We'll have to wait until later this year before we know whether it is helping the company earn more cash.

TripAdvisor debuted its new homepage at the end of last year with the hope of making the platform more relevant to users and, presumably, helping it make more money in the process.

The change represented yet another shift in the way the company sees itself. Competition from both Google, with its growing travel business, and online travel agencies like, continues to impact TripAdvisor.

Amazon, Not Google

TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer is wary of the threat from Google, particularly in the restaurant sector, but rather than competing directly with search engines, he said that he saw TripAdvisor as more of an Amazon.

“We want to follow that same model, where you’re not starting your search on Google you’re starting it on TripAdvisor because we’ll have an experience that is tailored to what you’re looking for,” he told an audience at the ITB Berlin travel conference Wednesday.

Kaufer gave the example of putting Miami into both Google and TripAdvisor. On Google you might get links to the Miami Dolphins or Miami real estate he said.

When Skift did this Google search, however, a big box with pictures entitled “Things to do in Miami” was right at the top, not only highlighting how seriously Google takes travel but also how much of a threat it is to TripAdvisor.

“[The redesign] takes the — call it the encyclopedia that TripAdvisor was – and turns it into a much more inspirational vehicle for getting advice from your friends and the brands and the influencers that you trust. And the big thrust of the new TripAdvisor was bringing that to the forefront in a travel feed,” Kaufer said.

In its most recent quarterly financial update, TripAdvisor said the team behind the new homepage redesign was planning programs to “drive loyalty and increase monetization across our verticals.”

The redesign added content from publishers around the world as well as a personalized social feed. Not everyone was thrilled with the changes but CEO Stephen Kaufer is keen — as you would expect —to talk up the what he called the “new TripAdvisor.”

“TripAdvisor in the past has had some 700 million reviews and opinions and that’s great, that’s a terrific conglomeration of the wisdom of crowds, the anonymous reviewers that come in and rank everything under the sun, terrific, but not all that [is] what travelers are looking for. They’re looking for the top 10 lists from some other sources as well,” he said.

Kaufer hopes travelers will come direct to TripAdvisor to find that inspiration.

Disclaimer:  Skift is one of the publishers participating in TripAdvisor’s new travel feed.

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Tags: amazon, dining, google, inspiration, itb, restaurants, tripadvisor

Photo credit: Miami beach. TripAdvisor launched a new homepage last year, and wants travelers to come direct to the site. Mike McBey / Flickr

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