TripAdvisor vies to be your new Facebook for travel

TripAdvisor has launched its new website to inspire users to book their next travel. On its brand new social platform, users can discover useful content – travel tips and recommendation from friends and travel experts.

The website aims to change the way consumers research and plan their travel by combining the old (metasearch) and the new (social platform).

“We’re very excited to be changing travel yet again. Just as you have your go-to site or app for music and shopping, we are making sure TripAdvisor is now your go-to resource for travel,” Stephen Kaufer, president and CEO of TripAdvisor, said. “The new TripAdvisor provides its members with great content from the people, brands and influencers they rely on for travel and in-destination advice before and during their trip. With the introduction of new voices to TripAdvisor, travellers can better plan their trips by easily finding their ideal hotel, experience or restaurant.”

Users have their personalised travel feed showing the content from accounts you follow. TripAdvisor now shows travel content from travel experts are publishers, brands, and social media influencers. Users, on the other hand, can add reviews, links, videos and photos of their trips to share with others.

The newsfeed, as a whole, looks like the amalgamation of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The travel content is front and centre, while the snippet of your profile is on the left, and recommended content creators and users on the right.

The new website also features a map that puts a pin on every location of the user’s trips. It is a good way to motivate users to be able to pin more locations. Users can also view their friends profile and see their reviews and the places they’ve been.

To make things more interesting, TripAdvisor employs badge collection, similar to badges you get by playing Pokemon Go, that users can unlock by adding more contributions – reviews, photos, and videos.

Inspiring non-bookers to book

TripAdvisor TV ad campaign

According to the research findings of Phocuswright, consumers still turn to Tripadvisor to search and read reviews of hotels. TripAdvisor trumps Google and Booking.com in hotel sector metasearch thanks to the 702 million reviews and opinions found in the website.

Despite the high traffic, TripAdvisor has one major problem, millions of users do not click on advertising partners or book anything on the website. Learning from the far-reaching effects of social media, the company aims to provide a platform with inspiring content.

Users can easily switch to view hotels, flights, and attractions and book them without leaving the website. However, TripAdvisor’s homepage redesign makes sure that the social platform does not interfere when users are browsing hotel, things to do, and restaurants – therefore, the travel feed does not show up to distract users with intent to book on the site.

The travel feed has some personalisation in it and the website will curate suggestions based on the search patterns and activities in the account.

Personalisation is a key in TripAdvisor’s strategy in the coming years. Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor’s communication director, said: “We see personalisation as the big opportunity – personalising the entire customer journey from travel inspiration right through to planning and taking the actual trip. This is what we aim to do with the new TripAdvisor.”

Going back to its roots

Steve Kaufer, CEO, introduces the new TripAdvisor travel feed on 17 Sept. 2018 in New York City.

During TripAdvisor’s early days, professional content or reviews from major publication and influencers are prevalent. However, they were removed when the company found major traction with user reviews. Now, it moves to include professional content again in its site.

In the all-new TripAdvisor, enable users to follow friends, influencers, and publications they value, and then to save and/or share trip ideas that immediately get mapped and turned into potential itineraries.

In an exclusive interview with TD Media, Emma Shaw said that the change on travellers’ attitude fuelled the decision to include influencers and publishers’ content in the platform. Today, travellers want to be inspired, access information they can trust, and enjoy the same experiences, or better, as those shared by their friends and the travel experts they follow.

In our current social media-savvy world, travellers want to share all types of content with their network — and they want to be able to find information that’s relevant to them and follow the people who provide it.

“A better, more inspired and more satisfying trip.”

“Travellers are always finding new ideas and inspiration for their trips, but rarely in a place where they can save those ideas for later use — or immediately take action and make them happen. The new TripAdvisor solves this pain point by giving travellers a single place where they can leverage social-assistive tools, amazing content and our existing booking capabilities to merge the joy of travel planning and discovery together in one single, seamless experience. In doing so, we’ll be able to help travellers at every step of their journey — so they can have a better, more inspired and more satisfying trip that match their interests and needs,” she said.

The timing couldn’t be better after an Italian court sentenced a person who peddled fake hotel reviews on TripAdvisor in exchange for money from hotels aiming to boost their profile on the giant reviews platform. PromoSalento successfully posted fake reviews on behalf of several hundred businesses. While posting fake reviews is not new, but the punishment is quite surprising. Noticeably, prior to the launch of the new website, TripAdvisor removed some content and users at its own volition.

Increasing its credibility and battling fake reviews – TripAdvisor hit two birds with one stone.

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