Author Topic: TRIP - Tripadvisor Inc.  (Read 99689 times)

JBTC

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Re: TRIP - Tripadvisor Inc.
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2016, 12:55:30 AM »


Given that revenue per hotel shopper is higher for instant booking than traditional meta CPC, would you have an idea where this dilution is coming from?

I don't know what is causing the revenue "dilution," which I understand to mean less revenue than TRIP otherwise would have if it had not rolled out Instant Booking.

This is my guess only. Maybe a couple of factors.

1) Until the recent quarter, the conversion rate on IB was lower than meta, meaning people either don't click on IB or click but don't complete the booking. In contrast, travelers generally don't hesitate to click the meta links (the OTAs) just to see what's being offered.

2) IB is more important on mobile. But on mobile TRIP gets paid less than on desktop for either IB or meta.

So as the trend moves to IB on mobile, for now, TRIP doesn't get paid as much as it did when travelers clicked away on desktop.


ccplz

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Re: TRIP - Tripadvisor Inc.
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2016, 01:19:42 AM »
Yes but IB doesn't completely replace the OTAs links. If you don't want to click the IB link, the OTA link is right next to it.

At least from my understanding of how it works.

JBTC

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Re: TRIP - Tripadvisor Inc.
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2016, 01:49:41 AM »
I am not sure. I had the impression that IB takes one of the slots currently being offered to OTAs.

I have a more fundamental question:

I always assumed travelers would be happy to get planning/booking done in one place. That's what TRIP believes.

I am just asking myself - does this have to be the case? Could researching and booking be two inherently different activities that belong to different sites?

What might cause travelers to not click on IB or complete booking on IB? Two possibilities I can think of.

1) IB is new and people are not familiar with the functionality and the role TRIP is now playing. If so, over time the problem will go away. 2) Travelers may prefer to book from one OTA where his personal info is stored and he gets good service includes points and coupons etc.

Any idea which possibility is more plausible, or how big the second group of travelers may be?

Jurgis

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Re: TRIP - Tripadvisor Inc.
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2016, 07:45:52 AM »
Anecdotally, when I book, I try two or three OTAs ( getting harder with consolidation ... ). Don't use Trip at all. I don't usually even look at their ratings...

In USA, I sometimes try the hotel website after narrowing down choices through OTAs.

I don't know if I'll ever book on Trip. But never say never. ;)

Disclosure: I hold some LVNTA and LTRPA.
"Before you can be rich, you must be poor." - Nef Anyo

JBTC

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Re: TRIP - Tripadvisor Inc.
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2016, 03:24:59 AM »
Anecdotally, when I book, I try two or three OTAs ( getting harder with consolidation ... ). Don't use Trip at all. I don't usually even look at their ratings...

In USA, I sometimes try the hotel website after narrowing down choices through OTAs.

I don't know if I'll ever book on Trip. But never say never. ;)

Disclosure: I hold some LVNTA and LTRPA.

If you go to a new city say for leisure, how do you decide which hotel to stay then?

Jurgis

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Re: TRIP - Tripadvisor Inc.
« Reply #25 on: February 23, 2016, 10:52:01 AM »
If you go to a new city say for leisure, how do you decide which hotel to stay then?

It's a combination of price, location (if I can make any reasonable evaluation about location in new city), amenities (parking, breakfast, internetz), OTA reviews (Expedia has had OKish reviews in the past, Priceline & Orbitz not so much), sometimes hotel brand (for some you can know what to expect, for some - not really).

I don't dis TRIP reviews. They might be helpful sometimes. Although usually more info just leads to analysis paralysis. There's always complaints. Some might be worth listening, some not. A lot of times you don't know which.

It's also tough to weigh. If you want below $100 (haha) in NYC, you have to live with crap neighborhood, crap rooms or both, etc. Reviews might not help to decide whether one hotel is less crap than the other if they both are rather crappy. I think this applies also at other places in goodness/crappiness range: if you compare "comparable" hotels, they will have somewhat comparable complaints. Sometimes there are exceptions where a "comparable" hotel is a piece of crap compared to other "comparable". But these are possibly not very common and also sometimes you learn this only after experiencing it (rather than from reviews).

Anyway, just my experience from the past. As I say, I don't dis TRIP. I just have not used it much. Might change in the future. Who knows. :)
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JBTC

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Re: TRIP - Tripadvisor Inc.
« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2016, 12:14:40 AM »
If you go to a new city say for leisure, how do you decide which hotel to stay then?

It's a combination of price, location (if I can make any reasonable evaluation about location in new city), amenities (parking, breakfast, internetz), OTA reviews (Expedia has had OKish reviews in the past, Priceline & Orbitz not so much), sometimes hotel brand (for some you can know what to expect, for some - not really).

I don't dis TRIP reviews. They might be helpful sometimes. Although usually more info just leads to analysis paralysis. There's always complaints. Some might be worth listening, some not. A lot of times you don't know which.

It's also tough to weigh. If you want below $100 (haha) in NYC, you have to live with crap neighborhood, crap rooms or both, etc. Reviews might not help to decide whether one hotel is less crap than the other if they both are rather crappy. I think this applies also at other places in goodness/crappiness range: if you compare "comparable" hotels, they will have somewhat comparable complaints. Sometimes there are exceptions where a "comparable" hotel is a piece of crap compared to other "comparable". But these are possibly not very common and also sometimes you learn this only after experiencing it (rather than from reviews).

Anyway, just my experience from the past. As I say, I don't dis TRIP. I just have not used it much. Might change in the future. Who knows. :)

I thought most people do it my way, but apparently not.  :)

I generally go to TRIP and go down the list of hotels based on ranking. I check out the top ones in my price range and browse the first few reviews to see if there is any major deficiency. Among those acceptable, I tend to value location.

That will be it. Often it takes me 10-15 minutes to decide on a hotel in a country I never visited before.

What has allowed me to decide quickly is the TRIP ranking which I assume to reflect the best popular wisdom, given TRIP has far more reviews than OTA sites. I am sure the TRIP ranking may not necessarily be scientific or fair, but it has generally worked out well for me.

Jurgis

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Re: TRIP - Tripadvisor Inc.
« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2016, 06:30:12 AM »
Interesting. Might be a good way, though not sure I'll switch - habits die hard. Thanks for sharing. :)
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Sionnach

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Re: TRIP - Tripadvisor Inc.
« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2016, 06:59:51 AM »
Can anyone describe TRIP's competitive advantage?

I mean is it sort of like the Google moat? They have the most reviews, which drives more reviews, which gives people the greatest confidence in their reviews and mindshare. If you think search engine you go to Google because they have the best results because they have a data advantage. If you think hotel reviews you go to Trip Advisor because they have the best reviews.

Then this leads to a lower cost of customer acquisition than the OTA's because they have an asset (the best UGC) that the OTAs don't have.

Does anyone else have a better way to describe the competitive advantage here? How sustainable is it really?

JBTC

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Re: TRIP - Tripadvisor Inc.
« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2016, 08:30:45 AM »
Can anyone describe TRIP's competitive advantage?

I mean is it sort of like the Google moat? They have the most reviews, which drives more reviews, which gives people the greatest confidence in their reviews and mindshare. If you think search engine you go to Google because they have the best results because they have a data advantage. If you think hotel reviews you go to Trip Advisor because they have the best reviews.

Then this leads to a lower cost of customer acquisition than the OTA's because they have an asset (the best UGC) that the OTAs don't have.

Does anyone else have a better way to describe the competitive advantage here? How sustainable is it really?

You have said it well, but let me try to add a little.

First of all - sustainability.

I travel a lot, but never do reviews. So I don't understand why people do that, but many millions do, and mostly on TRIP. Maybe it's just the first-mover advantage and the winner-take-all type of situation at work.

For a while, Google tried to build an inventory of hotels and have people leave reviews. It was just pathetic, and I don't know if it's still up and running.

I use all the main OTAs. They always ask me for reviews after the trip. I generally ignore them. Hotels.com sometimes sends me a 10% coupons for a writing a 10-word review, and I would oblige.

Bottomline, people willingly do reviews on TRIP and TRIP just dominates. All OTAs want to have reviews and some are paying for them. Google has tried and failed. All this time TRIP's reviews continue to grow.

Second, let's see what reviews can do. Because TRIP can claim to have the most reviews on any hotel (generally the case), it gives TRIP the authority to rank all the hotels in each city (or even each neighborhood). That's some power.

As a traveler goes down the ranking to select the hotel that fits his budget and requirement, it gives him the sense that he is getting the best bang of his buck in a systematic way. Maybe this is just my own illusion, but it has really made the site sticky for me.

Equally important, every single hotel in the world has recognized TRIP's awesome impact to their business. I was in Africa not so long ago. From lobby counter to elevator, you can see signs that say "Please review us on Tripadvisor!".

This made me think that even though TRIP had limited direct relationships with the hotels in the past (until the recent Instant Booking effort), its brand is so up there that perhaps turning itself into a quasi-OTA is possible.

Third, let's think about what makes OTAs such a great business. PCLN is likely one of the greatest stocks of all time. It does two things. One is to sign contracts with hotels to help sell rooms and build a direct link to them. Two is to try find customers online - using TRIP, other meta search engines, google search, its email list, etc. 

As you point out, TRIP effortless finds numerous customers. So far it sells them to OTAs. Can it turn these customers directly to the hotels? The road may be long, but it feels possible. It already signed many top large chains with its Instant Book. PCLN is on board with IB also. If over time people are used to booking on TRIP, it seems conceivable that it will become a hotel central marketplace for many, if not everyone, to go to.

This will not be easy. Likely OTAs and TRIP will co-exist. Maybe there are fundamental reasons for booking to be separate from planning. But it seems TRIP has more room to move than OTAs.

In the end, I feel TRIP's moat may be more like Facebook's than Google's. Its moat lies in the fact that it's where most travelers already gather today for information on hotels, and it seems the most natural place to connect millions of travelers with direct links to hundreds of thousands of hotels in the future, if it ever happens. It will then become a marketplace, and you don't need another.