TripAdvisor expands booking tool

SINGAPORE, 28 October 2015: TripAdvisor will roll out instant bookings in Asia during 2016, following its successful introduction in North America, TripAdvisor vice president, global sales and operations, Brian Schmidt, reported on the sidelines of  the Web in Travel event, last week.

While declining to confirm an exact date for the Asia launch, he said it would  be in 2016 and begin with English-speaking markets, Australia and Singapore, followed by India and Hong Kong.

After a year fine-tuning the instant bookings web tool in the US, the group has signed on most of the major hotel brands.

Last week, it signed a partnership with Pricelines a group that dominates the hotel booking space through various companies it owns such as the popular Asia site, Agoda.

inside no 5The link with Pricelines will add more booking options, while still on a TripAdvisor page.

When it arrives in Asia, Instant bookings will allow a visitor to stay on the TripAdvisor site, while they open a new window, either a hotel’s website, or a third-party booking site to complete the room transaction.

TripAdvisor’s objective is to keep the millions of eyeballs viewing its reviews on site while they book and pay for a room.

“Instant bookings  offers choices.  The visitor can book through a third-party site and we are paid by the click on, or they can choose to book direct through a hotel website and we are paid 12% to 15% commission,” he said.

TripAdvisor boasts 375 million unique visitors a month so there is considerable pressure to keep all those eyeballs focused on its own content rather than flitting to other sites and not returning.

Schmidt also outlined an objective to bring hotel management and owners into the review frame, encouraging them to respond to reviews to gain further promotional mileage.

“Owners input is in important for us,” he said, noting there are 250 million reviews on site mainly related to hotels. “GMs can respond when there are negative reviews… there are features that will alert them.”

Globally, review responses from management is much higher at around 25% when compared to Asia, which is in the “single digits.”