As you may have heard, Tripadvisor has rolled out a new design and user interface. The basics are still there – it’s still probably the most popular travel-related website on the web – but the homepage is less cluttered now. They intend to show the site as having clearer navigation and a more evident “path” through the site. An email I received from Tripadvisor today contained this statement:
I decided to take their advice and go check it out.
- Click on the thumbnail to visit the website.
- I kind of like the subdued colors -but they’re almost too subdued. It’s kind of boring to be honest.
- They’re still monetizing the site with TONS of sponsored ads. This is a pet peeve of mine. They wont let us BUY a link on the site from property listings to a clients’ website. They prefer all bookings to go through Hotels.com and their other affiliates (they’re owned by Expedia.) This doesn’t stop them from placing annoying Google ads everywhere. On rare occasions I have been able to get my clients’ Google ads to show on the Tripadvisor site but not all the time – and there are no instructions anywhere that say – “Take these steps and your ads will show on Tripadvisor.” Tripadvisor will not tell you how this is accomplished, Google will not tell you how – you just better be pretty lucky. At the very least I think they should let us run a site targeted campaign on Tripadvisor – it can’t be that hard for them to put together on their end.
A side thought to ponder:
I wonder what the clickthrough and conversion rate would be on some good contextual linking vs. the AdSense model. Yes there is the paid link debate, but if you’re buying a human-edited DIRECTORY listing that’s not even considered – think Yahoo Directory or a bed and breakfast directory like PillowsandPancakes.com.
- They switched the “Other” category to “Specialty Lodging.” Big deal – you still can’t submit anything other than apartment and condo complexes here. What about vacation rental homes – what about the huge VRMs that can put hundreds or thousands of pages of content on Tripadvisor? C’mon people – vacation rentals are the wave of the future – let your USERS review vacation rental companies here.
So I’ve ranted a bit about my annoyances with Tripadvisor – and even with those annoyances they can really be a valuable resource. In the end, it is their site and they can do with it as they please – but in my opinion, embracing a large segment of the tourism population (I’m talking VRM’s) would go a long way towards building good karma in the industry.
As a strong advocate of online reputation management, I do suggest having a listing if you can, monitoring it diligently, and being involved in the Tripadvisor forum that is established for your region/city or state. You can gain a good authoritative voice.
I think Vacation Rental Managers are always going to have trouble (read: it’s impossible) getting listed on Tripadvisor – but don’t loose hope – I heard today about some new and exciting stuff coming very soon from the folks over at FlipKey that will make the Tripadvisor review model look a bit stale – that’s all I can say right now – but stay tuned to the Blizz Blog for more on that in Januray 2008.