Now 14 years old and hosting 150 million reviews and opinions, (twice as many as two years ago) TripAdvisor has established itself as a go-to destination on the Web for reviews of hotels and attractions around the world. The market is hardly standing still though and the company now faces competition from the data-powered approaches of Foursquare and Google Now, offering a more contextually relevant experience.
To find out how TripAdvisor is facing up to these challenges, I spoke to president and CEO Stephen Kaufer today at SXSW.
Kaufer isn’t phased by the newer kids on the travel information scene. “The fact you can come to a new city and get tips and information from sources other than TripAdvisor, that’s cool. It’s going to help people understand that there’s so much they can ask of their phone or expect of their phone.” In all, Kaufer believes TripAdvisor has the most data and can still offer the best recommendations.
It’ll come as little surprise to learn that mobile is a big growth area for the company. Over 40 percent of traffic to its site comes from mobile devices, but Kaufer feels its apps could offer more than just trip-planning help. “Just as we humbly think of TripAdvisor as having changed the way people plan their trip before they go, we think there’s a phenomenal opportunity once travellers are actually in market to change their in-market, or in-destination activity.”
Kaufer hinted at custom tours and object recognition as features a mobile ‘personal travel guide’ from TripAdvisor may have in the future.
You can listen to the full interview below, where I also asked him how the company is faring in the battle against the fake reviews that have blighted TripAdvisor in the past.