Online travel agency, TripAdvisor, has revealed some of its tactics that aided in its success as one of the most popular travel agencies on the web. When it comes to attracting vacationers, TripAdvisor not only uses unique offerings like parasailing and a plethora of walking tours, but other tactics that it has decided to share with the world.
Sales of experiences have been TripAdvisor’s fastest-growing revenue stream for a few years. However, the company faces competitors such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Ctrip, Expedia, GetYourGuide, Klook, KKDay, and others attempting to take their share of the pie for tours, activities, and attractions. Yet TripAdvisor argues it leads competitors in supply and bookings worldwide.
“Competitors are strong,” said CEO Steve Kaufer during an earnings call. However, he noted that TripAdvisor has more online shoppers for experiences than any other player.
Kaufer claimed the company’s “existing demand footprint” for tour operators is “nearly impossible to replicate.” He noted the company has recently had between 400 and 500 million visitors a month on average to its various branded platforms each month.
“That’s the part that’s probably really hard for anyone else to replicate,” he said, presumably referring to the marketing challenge facing well-funded startups like GetYourGuide and Klook in cost-effectively acquiring customers.
Kaufer said TripAdvisor and its sister brand Viator are “leading on supply in most parts of the world.” He said the company now offers for booking 202,000 experiences across its platform, which is more than competitors have and more than double what it had a year earlier.
“Even if supply growth isn’t doubling again next year, that’s not really an issue for us,” said Kaufer said. He argued the company already had “a pretty comprehensive supply footprint in many, though not all, parts of the world.” The company saves much of its sales teams outreach efforts for so-called long-tail products, such as quirky tours that have limited online availability today, and geographic reach in markets where it’s still relatively underpenetrated, such as Asia.
“It’s a combination of our reps targeting the accounts that we’re best able to serve, the technology that automates the onboarding process so that our existing suppliers and new ones can add more of the product that they hadn’t bothered to list with us before, and to get it all right,” said Kaufer.
TripAdvisor will focus on demand because tour operators and experience providers will be drawn to it as a channel if it is providing the most cost-efficient leads.
Not everyone agrees with TripAdvisor’s strategy. Some competitors argue that if you increase your inventory faster than you increase your volume, then that just means you generate less demand for some suppliers. However, TripAdvisor’s recent revenue growth does speak for itself.
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