COVID-19 has taken a disproportionately large toll on TripAdvisor’s two primary customer audiences, hotels and restaurants, which have seen double-digit revenue declines compared with 2019. The company has been trying to help these groups with a number of new products and services that meet perceived needs and generate new subscription revenue.
Listings and menu syndication. The first offering is a restaurant menu-content syndication program called Menu Connect. It uses SinglePlatform, which TripAdvisor acquired last December from Endurance International Group, and is now available globally to the more than five million restaurants on TripAdvisor.
Restaurants confirm their business listings and upload their menu details. That information is then distributed across a network of more than 100 sites, including Google, Yelp, OpenTable, Foursquare, Facebook, TripAdvisor itself and numerous other sites and restaurant apps. The product features an analytics dashboard that offers data on menu views and customer status (new vs. returning), among other insights.
Predicting room demand. Two new hotel products address reputation management, pricing and demand prediction:
- Spotlight: a competitive intelligence and demand-prediction tool.
- Reputation Pro: a reputation management and review solicitation service.
Spotlight relies on pricing and competitive intelligence from hotel industry data platform OTA Insight. It seeks to help hotel owners predict demand, competitively price rooms and monitor pricing across distribution channels. TripAdvisor argues that historical occupancy trends can no longer — or for the moment — be relied up on predict future room demand.
There are two components to the service: Rate Spotlight and Market Spotlight. Rate Spotlight is the pricing intelligence tool that enables hoteliers to understand how their rates compare to competitors’ in their markets. Market Spotlight predicts room demand, based on multiple data inputs (e.g., “local events and travel searches for flights, accommodations”).
Review aggregation and solicitation. Reputation Pro is a review monitoring tool that tracks reviews on TripAdvisor, Google and Facebook (but not Yelp). It notifies hotel marketers of new reviews and allows them to respond directly from the dashboard. Reviews are also qualitatively evaluated, providing sentiment analysis and identifying “specific aspects of the guest experience that are driving positive or negative feedback” (i.e., consistent mentions: staff, pricing, food quality, parking, etc.).
Equally important, the service solicits reviews on behalf of a hotel via email, mobile apps and text messaging. Review collection is a pain point for most businesses, and this by itself may convince hotel marketers to subscribe.
Why we care. TripAdvisor, which began entirely as a consumer-facing hotel review destination, has rolled out a growing number of promotional and analytics tools and services for its hotel and restaurant clients. Part of this is driven by the need to diversify revenue and part of it by a recognition of the unmet needs of its customers.
Despite its position as a top 5 travel search destination, TripAdvisor’s development of these new services (e.g., review aggregation and data syndication) also responds to the growth of Google Travel, which has eaten into the success of many OTAs and travel booking sites.