This may sound at the moment like one of those obscure tech stories only of interest to geeks. But given that so many properties are now reviewed on TripAdvisor, irrespective of size or type, it could have far reaching implications for everyone, from huge chain hotels to tiny B&Bs.
In news that surprised few commentators in the tourism industry, TripAdvisor has finally announced that it’s introducing a test version of “metasearch” for its users. This new service will cover both desktop and mobile versions of the site.
What’s “metasearch”? It’s essentially a way of typing in a search term and getting results from multiple search engines at the same time (i.e. Google and Bing and Yahoo, rather than just one of them.) In this particular case, it means searching for a property – be it a hotel, guest house or B&B – and seeing prices/availability from lots of different Online Travel Agents (not the property itself at the moment, though that may come later.)
Offering a service like this isn’t exactly new. Kayak, Trivago and others have been doing it for years. So what distinguishes TripAdvisor’s version? Its vast database of reviews: “What TripAdvisor has that every other travel site on the planet does not is a user base that currently accounts for 60 million unique visitors every month.” Utilising this resource will grant TripAdvisor the ability “…to filter results not only by the overall rating by users but also by whether it is ideal for business travellers, families or those looking for a luxury or romantic stay.”[i]
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