TripAdvisor, in a site redesign, wants to be your new travel feed.
Travel review and booking site TripAdvisor wants you to get social on its site: It’s set to unveil a redesign later this year that allows you to create your own profile page to post videos and photos and follow your friends, brands and influencers to get personalized travel advice.
“We use so many resources when” we do travel planning, said TripAdvisor CEO and cofounder Stephen Kaufer in a presentation Monday morning. “This is still an archaic way to travel.”
Kaufer gave the example of having trouble finding different emails containing travel tips friends and colleagues have sent him over the years when he was taking a trip with his son to Asia last year.
TripAdvisor wants to give a “one size fits all solution” and get all the travel advice in one place, he said, adding while 66% of consumers count on reviews to help make travel decisions, that was followed closely by 62% who cited friends and family.
Still, while the idea makes sense, it remains to be seen how successful TripAdvisor would be in convincing its global users (it said it averages 456 million unique visitors a month) that there’s a need for them to create yet another social media profile on top of their Facebook, Instagram and other social media accounts.
“When you think about how the world has evolved, the world has become social,” Elliot Cohen, TripAdvisor’s VP of product, said in an interview. “Businesses can now take advantage of the platform and use the travel feed to reach new customers and reach people in real time.”
For instance, a restaurant general manager could write a post to entice visitors nearby to go to his/her restaurants with a 10% off offer, he said.
A look at what a user’s social feed would look on TripAdvisor’s redesigned site when it goes live.TRIPADVISOR
To be sure, the company is light on details when it comes to potential retail ramifications and tie-ups, adding it’s starting with publishers and influencers as partners at launch.
TripAdvisor, citing a 2018 Oxford Economics Study, said its platform influences $546 billion, or more than 10% of annual global tourism spending. Three-fifths of consumers booking travel online went to TripAdvisor during their travel planning and booking, it said, citing separate comScore data released earlier this year. The publicly traded company, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, also operates and owns 20 other travel sites including viator.com and airfarewatchdog.com.
Tourism spending is a major sales contributor to the retail and restaurant industries. According to the Oxford Economics study, growth in the global travel economy, totaling $5.3 trillion in both domestic and overseas spending worldwide, has outpaced that of global GDP growth. Retail spending accounts for about one-fifth of both domestic and inbound travel spending while food and beverage services represent about 15% of the global travel spending.
“I know my friend Leah has good taste,” said 29-year-old Long Island native Alicia Kennedy, who works in the hospitality industry, when asked about TripAdvisor’s new move. “Her opinion would matter to me….I like the fact it’s all right in one spot. You wouldn’t have to go Googling on 10 different websites.”
If more consumers agree with Kennedy, retailers like Tiffany and Macy’s that count on tourism spending in major cities like New York may have to consider TripAdvisor as a new or bigger marketing avenue.