Apps for Tourism and the Exemplary Case of TripAdvisor
When it comes to tourism, we no longer want to be just tourists; instead, we aspire to be travelers. We seek to have unique, exciting experiences that adapt to their tastes. We exhaustively look for them on the Internet, check out what influencers are sharing, we ask our friends, and through all this searching, we set out on their adventure while sharing it live on our social media profiles.
It’s a fact that travelers are now more demanding than ever; that’s why industry players are experiencing an unprecedented transformation to adapt to this new paradigm. Technology has turned into a reliable ally to innovate and offer personalized experiences to consumers, leading to the emergence of new tourism apps, chatbots that answer travelers’ questions, voice assistants inside hotel rooms, and more.
At the end of 2018, TripAdvisor followed this path by launching a new website and app to become the “most personalized and connected community for travelers.” What’s at the heart of the tourism app development efforts? Just like on Facebook or Twitter, users can follow brands, influencers, or friends that create content related to their interests, get information to help plan their trips, and book different services directly from the TripAdvisor platform.
Personalization is critical for TripAdvisor and travel
Through these updates, TripAdvisor is turning into a personalized information feed based on previous searches or interests. According to the TripAdvisor app and website themselves, the company will be the “world’s first travel feed that automatically adapts the information shown about the destination the user’s looking for through recommendations and inspiration from family members, friends, and experts they trust.”
According to CEO and Co-Founder, Stephen Kaufer, “the new TripAdvisor is the only travel site that takes social tools, incredible content, and the ability to make reservations while combining the joy of planning and discovering in a single experience. We’re helping our users at every step of their trip, turning ourselves into a more personalized, inspirational, and useful TripAdvisor.”
On both the website and tourism app, TripAdvisor has used machine learning to unite all the data it gets from each user to guide them towards a unique experience wholly geared towards their tastes. By knowing who they follow, what they’ve done on their past trips, and who their friends are, they can create a personalized itinerary for their next vacation. In this way, they ensure that the eager traveler stays on their website, consumes content, shares, and ends a purchasing process. The challenge tourism companies have ahead of them is to reach their buyer persona, captivate them, and make them loyal.
“Think back to the days when you went in to see a travel agent and when they helped create that guide for you – but the travel agent didn’t really know you and might not have even been to the destination you were interested in,” says Kaufer, “Now with machine learning we have the ability to create that guide for you: we connect you with people who have been there and experienced that location, and with locals on the ground. Nobody does it today, but in five years I think it will be easier for the traveler to focus on the experience rather than spend time sorting through the options.”
TripAdvisor has evolved and knew how to adapt to the demands and context of every moment. The global crisis stemming from COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the travel and hospitality industry by causing a detrimental impact on their earnings. TripAdvisor quickly mobilized and enabled their page for people to exchange information about the coronavirus, resolve any user queries regarding the pandemic, and how it could impact already-booked trips.
They also launched a worldwide initiative to provide aid to the sectors that bore the brunt of the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis. They let diners purchase gift cards for future use when they could reopen and made it easier for patrons to find out who was open for takeout and delivery. TripAdvisor stated in the press release announcing the campaign that gift cards served “...as much needed microloans to help operators pay their rent, continue to pay employees and fund benefits like healthcare, as well as fund other critical expenses.” The Tripadvisor Foundation also played a role through their #LoveYourLocal campaign that contributed a dollar (up to $150,000) to the most vulnerable populations for every review that people left on TripAdvisor or shares of the #LoveYourLocal hashtag on public Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. These examples demonstrate their website’s ability to adapt and react quickly in light of a situation requiring quick, resolute action. They managed to do so, all thanks to their new platform.
Bespoke travel planning with TripAdvisor
As we already mentioned, the user can save all this information in their “Trips” folder to plan and share ideas with friends, family members, or the rest of the community. They’ll also have the ability to create their guide for a weekend in New York City, choose the ten best restaurants for dinner in Paris, or the perfect activities to spend 48 hours in Prague.
And to offer the user a complete experience, they’ll be able to book nights in a hotel, activities, tables at restaurants straight from the platform, and take advantage of discounts and special promotions. In short, it’s a technology solution perfectly suited for digital tourism. TripAdvisor’s primary objective is to adapt to this new ecosystem and help the one million users on their site every day to create the trip of their dreams, regardless of what it is.
A study from Strategy&, part of Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) found that TripAdvisor helped create 14,1000 jobs in the United States in 2018 and resulted in an estimated 2.5% increase in Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for US restaurants from 2018-2022.
With this new strategic turn, the company can turn into the primary resource for travelers from across the globe. TripAdvisor has dared to forge this path that, sooner or later, the rest of the industry will have to follow: one marked by innovation and new technology.
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