August is a time for travel and vacations. With limited vacation time, travelers are looking to plan the perfect trip with the best experience. Consumers are searching for the latest information to help them make the right decisions on attractions, hotels, flights and restaurants. Fifteen years ago consumers relied on frontline staff and travel agents to help them make decisions and understand their travel choices. The flaw in that approach was that most travel agents had visited only a limited number of destinations. Today consumers are turning to online review sites like TripAdvisor to get information on what’s good and what’s not from people just like them – consumers who have visited the destination they are considering.
TripAdvisor was founded by in 2000 by Stephen Kaufer and Langley Steinert in 2000. TripAdvisor is now the largest travel web site in the world with over 230 million unique visitors monthly. TripAdvisor has over 100 million travel reviews. More than 70 new reviews are posted every minute. In a few short years TripAdvisor has become the number one brand in travel. They have done that by providing consumer’s easily accessible and useful information. TripAdvisor has become an essential tool for travelers.
In his book CTRL-ALT- DELETE, Mitch Joel talks about the importance of brands needing to become more useful in consumer’s lives. “It about providing true value and utility: something that consumers not only would want to use – constantly and consistently – but would derive so much value from it that it would be given front and center attention in their lives”.
TripAdvisor’s mission is to help travelers around the world plan the perfect trip. TripAdvisor helps consumers in all steps of the travel purchase process from initial dreams, to planning and booking, when you are on the trip and sharing your experiences when you get home. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with links to booking tools. Mark Di Somma in a recent post on Brand Strategy Insider referred to consumer review sites as the new brand managers.
I am a big fan of TripAdvisor especially the mobile app. I always consult TripAdvisor before booking or eating in a new restaurant when I travel. I have posted reviews on TripAdvisor of hotels that I have stayed at and restaurants when I have eaten. I benefit from the time and thoughtful reviews, so I think it is important to give back and share my perspective.
TripAdvisor has a great business model. They leverage the collective input of millions of unpaid reviewers to provide the best travel information on the internet. The reviews generate advertising and cost per click referrals.
The consumer travel market remains very competitive. Google’s $700 million acquisition of Cambridge-based ITA and more recent acquisition of travel content leader, Frommers, is an indicator that others are in pursuit of TripAdvisor’s core business and profit margins.
Do you use TripAdvisor to plan your vacation?