Friday, February 16, 2007

What happened to Expedia wanting to use TripAdvisor content?

In September last year we wrote a story about Dermot Halpin, president of Expedia EMEA, who said during an on-the-record discussion at the PhoCusWright event in Brussels that he would be keen for his online travel agency to take a feed from TripAdvisor's content.

Nothing wrong with that - indeed it would make perfect sense for Expedia to want access to the reams of user-generated content buried in the world's most popular independent review site.

The story became interesting when it emerged that rather than simply arrange some kind of partnership (they are sister companies under the Expedia Inc brand after all), the pair were actually involved in "ongoing discussions".

Although an early resolution appeared to have been hampered by "technology issues", according to Halpin, the lack of movement following the event fuelled speculation that the two couldn't actually reach an agreement because of slightly more serious concerns - i.e. strategic or commercial.

Follow ups in the past few weeks have revealed nothing - but perhaps everything...

TripAdvisor has not responded and Expedia says it has "nothing to update" us on.

Spies tell us talks have broken down.

UPDATE: Should have mentioned TripAdvisor is feeding content to the Expedia site in Australia via a Destinations page. This also applies to the Canadian site. Tim on The Boot has a good piece of analysis on the issue written in January following the implemenation of the Australia deal. There is also an interesting addition to the debate in his post's comments section.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

2 comments:

JOHNFRANKS said...

I would certainly question what is in it for Trip Advisor to hand over its content to Expedia, regardless of them being sister companies.

Get the impression that Expedia needs the connection more than TA.

Guillaume said...

I think the agreement may be difficult to materialize because of 3 fundamental differences between the 2 companies:

1/ TripAdvisor business model is through PPC and its customers are not just Expedia and Hotels.com but also their competitors like Venere, Opodo, Booking

Conflict of interests?

2/ Expedia is also pushing their customers to review their hotel stay after departure(same strategy as Priceline) and therefore is not compatible with TripAdvisor model "I review my hotel stay with no booking reference"

3/ Where Expedia rely on hotel providers to get their margin/revenue, I am sure if a review is far too negative and untrue, hotels have their say and can ask Expedia to remove the review. I am not too sure that is the case for TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor gives the chance to the hotelier to respond to the customer and eventually fix the problem. TripAdvisor doesn't get revenue directly form the provider...

Does that make sense ?

Guillaume
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