Travel news and data site Skift recently conducted a question-and-answer interview with Stephen Kaufer, President and CEO of travel reviews aggregator TripAdvisor. We think you’ll find the interview extremely interesting, especially if you’re a hotel or hospitality exec whose business is listed on TripAdvisor.
Kaufer was asked about a number of things concerning the industry of travel and online reviews. Here are some of his thoughts on the matter, as well as on other issues like fake reviews, TripAdvisor’s series of acquisitions (including Viator), and more.
On what online reviews mean to today’s consumers and travelers:
“I think it is very reasonable for an Internet-savvy consumer to be skeptical of what they read, be it on Amazon, eBay, on TripAdvisor or be it on CNN. I think all travelers need to do is try TripAdvisor to find out that the wisdom of the crowds really works better than anything else out there. With our traffic stats: That’s what’s happened. They’ve tried it. It’s worked so they come back, and that’s how we keep posting such amazing traffic numbers.”
On the kind of impact the increase in fake online reviews has had on TripAdvisor:
“When we ask our travelers – and we ask all the time – is that restaurant, hotel or attraction living up to its billing on TripAdvisor, the answer is yes. The system works. And so while everyone continues to wonder and ask about it (fake reviews), it is everyone except our travelers who use the site, rely upon it, and swear it never steers them wrong.”
(Check out: “8 Terrific TripAdvisor Tips for Businesses”)
On what Kaufer thinks of Yelp’s efforts to combat fake reviews:
“Yelp has sued a couple of companies, including a law firm. I tip my hat, Amen. Yelp is telling the world that authenticity is important. We have been on that same mantra since day one. We have arguably more ability to catch folks that are trying to defraud our system than Yelp simply because we are in the travel vertical as opposed to local.”
On why TripAdvisor bought Oyster and partnered with American Express:
“We went after Oyster for the photos. The photos are multilingual, they are unbiased. They tell it like it is. You get to see it in the photo. The Amex partnership is… about affinity with the American Express customer… and that customer who, like a Facebook-connected person who wants to see where their friends are, the Amex customer wants to identify with other Amex cardholders. So those reviews labeled as American Express help deliver that.”
On what kind of strategy TripAdvisor has with restaurants:
“Usage pattern for restaurants on TripAdvisor varies by device and varies by geography. If you live in the U.S., you are probably less familiar with our restaurant offering than if you live in Europe, where it is incredibly popular. There isn’t quite the financial benefit to the company in restaurants versus hotels, but there is a huge value proposition to consumers in their local market, and especially when they are traveling if they don’t have the list of favorites that they want to go to.”
You can read the rest of the interview here. Meanwhile, if you’re looking to track and analyze online reviews of your hotel, simply request a free trial of ReviewTrackers, a hotel review management and reputation monitoring tool for businesses in the hotel and hospitality industry. It’s the best way to listen closely and respond promptly to guests and travelers who are talking about your hotel property online.