In an employee letter obtained by Skift from a source close to the company, Tripadvisor Co-Founder and CEO Steve Kaufer announced that Viator and Tripadvisor Experiences, which is found under the “Things to do” tab on the company’s homepage, will operate as independent brands and with separate product, engineering, and marketing teams.
As part of that change, Dermot Halpin, who headed Attractions and was mentioned by Skift as a potential candidate to become Expedia Group CEO, will transition out of Tripadvisor, serving as an advisor through the end of the first quarter. Kaufer will head Tripadvisor Experiences for the next 90 days on an interim basis. Ben Drew, who was vice president of business development and strategy for Tripadvisor Rentals and Attractions, will become president of Viator and a member of the Tripadvisor executive leadership team.
Although Tripadvisor’s Experiences and Dining business segment saw profits fall 46 percent to $15 million in the third quarter, Kaufer said that Viator; Tripadvisor Experiences; The Fork (dining reservations); and Tripadvisor Restaurants, Media Advertising, as well as Hotel B2B Solutions are all “growing revenue lines that each exceed $100 million.”
The global tours and activities sector has entered an era of heightened competition with GetYourGuide and Klook receiving heavy venture capital funding, Airbnb entering the sector, and Booking.com building out its own experiences product aggressively. Tripadvisor had been the undisputed leader, but competitors, some with SoftBank money in the bank, have closed the gap.
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