Don’t expect any slowdown soon in the growing use of the internet for travel research, suggests Steve Kaufer, whose travel research site was recently acquired by IAC/InterActive Corp.
Mr Kaufer, co-founder and CEO of TripAdvisor Inc., told TravelMole: “Travel research has always been at the forefront of internet activities. And that makes perfect sense. The information is there 24 hours a day. There are wonderful pictures and fresh sites.”
TripAdvisor was formed in 2000 to provide a comprehensive travel search engine and directory to help consumers plan their trips. TripAdvisor.com is the 7th most popular travel website worldwide, the company says.
TripAdvisor does not sell travel, and has no intention of ever doing so, Mr Kaufer said.
That was one reason he said it was very compatible with IAC/InterActive Corp, which includes such diverse companies as Expedia, Hotwire, Ticketmaster and others.
“We now have more than 80,000 merchant customers,” said Barry Diller, chairman and CEO of IAC, who added in a news release that the consolidation of the company was increasing its value to all marketing partners.
Mr Kaufer said there are many good travel information sites, but none that operate like TripAdvisor. The company’s search technology continuously scours the web for articles, reviews and opinions published on various travel topics such as hotel and resort properties. Ratings are then given.
“We present whatever our visitors give it. If it’s a glowing review, we use it, and if it’s a terrible review, we show that too. We show it all,” he said.
Mr Kaufer thinks allowing would-be travelers the chance to see varying opinions helps them in making informed judgments that otherwise would be difficult to determine.
Report by David Wilkening