Is Hotel Review Site TripAdvisor Now A Social Network?
Just over 2 years ago Screen Pilot discovered that the business listings on TripAdvisor weren’t as SEO friendly as many were lead to believe. Today we’re taking another look at TripAdvisor.Their intention is to educate travelers about travel destinations, resorts, hotels and lodges by using real traveller experiences. However recently it has been accused of being more like Facebook even by its own users. Lets look at the facts.
Recently it added a function that ties in with Facebook (TA has been working with Facebook more and more recently because of a partnership between the 2 similar to Netflix and Spotify). It allows you to see not just reviews by friends but also reviews by friends of friends. Read more about it here. Of course this utilizes the Facebook social networking functionality rather then a platform of their own. But still…
However social functionality isn’t all they’ve pursued recently. They’ve also partnered with Kayak to add their 60 million hotel reviews to the travel website. Expedia already have a similar tie up in place. This move allows TripAdvisor to reach more users outside of their traditional channels and increase their audience. It also benefits Kayak because it gives them more content.
More evidence of a move towards social is found in the forums. Of course this is not through TripAdvisors design but rather an organic change that has occurred because of a change in their users habits. Though as shown in the link in our opening paragraph not all users are happy with this change. Some believe the site needs to keep objective reviews as its core focus and the socializing within the forums amongst heavy TA users is distracting from these values.
Honestly I believe that Trip Advisor thinks social is the future of the web and is looking for a happy medium between review and social networking. The next argument is whether this move towards social is good for its users and businesses or not. Will the social shift dilute the quality of reviews found on the site or improve the platform because ultimately we trust our friends and family more than a random member of the public? We’ll leave that for you to debate.