TripAdvisor debuts social-assisted travel

During a press conference for TripAdvisor’s new site and mobile experience, TripAdvisor CEO Steve Kaufer revealed it is expanding its community beyond travelers to also include brands, social media influencers, publishers, and friends. Photo credit: TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor has unveiled social-assisted travel, enabling members to get relevant recommendations and inspiration by following friends and travel experts they trust, including publishers, brands and social media influencers.

More than 500 launch partners are now in the beta site, including National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel Channel, Business Insider & Insider Guides, PopSugar, Great Big Story (CNN Travel), Pandora Music, GoPro, Goop, NYC & Company (via their consumer-facing tourism website, nycgo.com), Nashville Music City, The Knot and others. Members will also be able to follow leading social-media influencers like television personality and restaurateur Giada De Laurentiis, as well as travel bloggers, like TravelBabbo.

“National Geographic wants to reach our customers wherever it is they are consuming content. We want to be available on all platforms allowing people to engage with our brand and content wherever and whenever they choose,” said Chris Thorman, VP of community products and growth, National Geographic, said in a statement. “We’re excited to be among the first publishers to join the new TripAdvisor, further expanding our travel footprint. As a global media company, we’re always seeking new opportunities to share our awe-inspiring articles, photos and video content, and a partnership with TripAdvisor allows us to do just that.”

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Travelers will be able to follow and connect with individuals or content creators who share information that is relevant to their interests. TripAdvisor members will be able to create and view new forms of content including photos, videos and articles. The site will be launched later this year across 49 markets and 28 languages.

“TripAdvisor is poised to disrupt the travel industry once again as we create a more personalized and connected community,” TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer said in a statement. “The new TripAdvisor is the one travel site that brings together social-assistive tools, amazing content and our existing booking capabilities to merge the joy of planning and discovery together into a single experience.”

“We are assisting our members at each step of their journey as we become a more personalized, inspirational and useful TripAdvisor,” Kaufer continued.

When a member logs onto the TripAdvisor app or site, his or her homepage becomes a personalized feed of information, Marketing Interactive reports. When searching a particular destination, the feed narrows the scope of the information displayed to that particular geographic location. For example, members planning a trip to Paris may see a food critic’s article on the best restaurant in the city, an influencer’s travel guide of “must-do’s,” and a friend’s review of a new hotel near the Eiffel Tower.

TripAdvisor’s team of destination experts and TripAdvisor Media Group brands, including Smarter Travel, Cruise Critic and TheFork.com, will contribute to the site through unique profiles.

TripAdvisor has unveiled its new site and mobile experience at a time when the company’s impact on the travel and tourism industry is growing. Two recent studies show a growing reliance on TripAdvisor during the travel planning, booking (pre-trip and in-destination) and post-trip experience.

According to a 2017 Oxford Economics study, the TripAdvisor platform has influenced $546 billion USD (10.3 percent) of global tourism spend annually in the travel and hospitality industry as consumers sought the company's review content as a part of their decision-making process. A 2018 study from comScore found that 60 percent of people booking travel online went to TripAdvisor during the travel planning and booking process, and a full 74 percent of travelers used TripAdvisor when booking on hotel websites.

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