Thursday, June 27, 2013

Trip Advisor just got sexy!

When the good folks at Tomahawk submitted the following guest blog post, they wondered if it was "controversial enough" for this blog.

Well, the author managed to mention TripAdvisor AND their love for staying in holiday homes in the same informative article.

In motel-world, that's more than enough controversy ;-)
So the race is on.

Will Google’s new Hotel Finder or Trip Advisor’s recently upgraded rate comparison metasearch be the ultimate travel search and book website?

In my humble opinion, Trip Advisor’s is certainly the current winner. Their new functionality is just damn sexy and makes the customer experience enjoyable while giving the confidence to book appropriately.

Why I love it.

Trip Advisor offers superior functionality that allows you to search not only on existing customer reviews but also on price and type of travel, for example business travel, family or romance.

And then it gets even better and makes the experience personal with their integrated Trip Advisor Friends functionality. Throughout your search it allows you to see if any of your Facebook friends have visited the destination and accommodation. A recommendation from a friend is the booking ‘golden ticket’ and worth ten reviews from people you don’t know.

Another reason for my current Trip Advisor infatuation is because in New Zealand we love staying in holiday homes and this new functionality includes holiday rentals listed on Flip Key.

“We can do it too”

TripAdvisor has taken a feather from the Google headdress and is offering properties the option of pay-per-click advertising around rate comparison. With Trip Advisor being the number one travel website in the world, it will be interesting to watch where properties will be spending their online dollars in the future.

The downside
Small operators who are not distributing on OTAs (online travel agents like and Expedia) could potentially be left behind.

Both Google Hotel Finder and Trip Advisor’s metasearch functionality pull the rates and availability from OTAs. Many small properties can’t afford or still haven’t come to terms with the need for an online booking system and Channel Management. This may see their online bookings drop as bookings are being driven to properties that distribute on OTAs.

And yes, for accommodation providers that use OTAs they can complain and say the downside is that they have to pay the OTAs commission because the traveller is booking on Trip Advisor and not their website. Suck it up, it is the reality of doing business online now. If it makes you feel any better, the OTA has chosen you and is paying Trip Advisor to have their calendar displayed on your accommodation listing so be flattered and enjoy the bookings.

The winners

So as Google and Trip Advisor battle each other to create the best customer experience it ultimately means the winners are the travellers. They benefit from better functionality, more relevant and personal data enabling them (us) to book with the assurance that they got the price, quality and style desired to ensure a great holiday.

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