TripAdvisor wants to be the go-to place for consumers to find in-destination activities on their smartphones. Citymaps will not only help consumers with map-based attractions' searches but will bolster TripAdvisor's abilities to perform location-based marketing. Expect more of those TripAdvisor notifications when you amble by an interesting tourist spot.
Can TripAdvisor, with all its content and global reach, become another Booking.com-like success story or will TripAdvisor's prospects fade? There are plenty of possibilities within that range, too, but much depends on TripAdvisor's transition into a booking plus metasearch site. That's the $9 billion question -- and there's a wide range of opinion on the outcome.
TripAdvisor took a beating in the second quarter, but its growing tours and activities sector is showing strength as the company tries to become all things to all travelers.
If Google is using the "wisdom of the crowds" to determine how it arranges restaurant information in search results then in a lot of ways it believes professional reviews, and especially those from its Zagat franchise, trump user reviews. But when it gets down to displaying the text of diners' reviews, Google unfairly believes that its own consumer reviews are the fairest of them all.
In online travel and the lodging industry, as well as politics, astute observers follow the money. As it is with Marriott: The chain is using TripAdvisor 1) for bookings with lower-than standard online travel agency commissions and 2) to advertise even-lower-cost direct bookings on Marriott.com. Makes perfect economic sense.
TripAdvisor's strategy prioritizes the importance of the app over mobile Web and desktop. With its ability to access Booking.com's trove of hotel descriptions and photos, TripAdvisor is seeing lots of success through its app in driving repeat bookers. The bottom line, though, is cheap hotel prices are key.
Because of the proliferation of mobile devices and the propensity of TripAdvisor's metasearch users to meander off course after clicking off the TripAdvisor site, the company needed to do something dramatic such as Instant Booking to adapt to the future. As it plays the unglamorous "long game," the outcome of TripAdvisor's gamble won't be known until at least 2017.
Breaking up is hard to do but when it comes to mergers, the stakes can be very high and the challenges acutely complex. It's really hard to find someone who will argue that Expedia's acquisition spree will be its undoing but success will take focus and certainly isn't guaranteed.
Lots of consumers start their trip-planning with flights. Expedia will use its customer reviews of flights to spur more flight bookings but the company is also focusing on up-selling and facilitating smooth navigation to hotel and vacation-package options.
While one U.S. administration is getting ready to pack up things in the White House and Trump or Clinton hope to redecorate the place on their own, it could be an opportune time to sneak a Priceline-TripAdvisor or Google-TripAdvisor marriage past those sometimes-pesky antitrust regulators.