Friday, December 14

Syndicating Content: Why TripAdvisor Doesn't Need Visitors

Bloggers have known it for some time, but it works for big business too. The goal of effective branding doesn't always begin and end with attracting visitors to an organizational site but creating content other people want.

For some time, TripAdvisor has been putting this idea into practice. The number of people who view TripAdvisor content on sites other than TripAdvisor has doubled since last year. Now, more than 300 million visitors per month see TripAdvisor content on sites like Best Western International and Thomas Cook instead. They aren't the only ones. More than 500 companies carry TripAdvisor content.

Site visits shouldn't trump sales. 

The program, which originally started as means for businesses (and TripAdvisor) to encourage more traveler reviews, has since grown into an array of services for travel brands to syndicate TripAdvisor content,  integrate site technologies, engage customers, and increase bookings.

"We recognize that a growing number of guests turn to social communities and online reviews for research before they book a hotel stay," said Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Best Western. "Now our guests read TripAdvisor traveler reviews without leaving our site, which not only saves time but also helps each guest choose the right Best Western hotel for their needs."

There is another reason for companies to consider the option, according to TripAdvisor. According to the September 2012 PhoCusWright survey, 53 percent of travelers won't book a hotel if it doesn't have TripAdvisor reviews, which includes 75 million reviews and opinions. The volume of user-generated content attracts about 60 million unique visitors (75 million if all 19 media brands owned by the company are included).

In other words, TripAdvisor content offsite is read by five times as many people as it is onsite. And interestingly enough, TripAdvisor doesn't care. As many as 60,000 unique domains carry TripAdvisor content, shifting the company away from attracting site visitors and reaching out to them instead.

The concept brings new meaning to the old concept that winning companies look for innovations, ideas, and spaces where their competition isn't. In this case, it turns out that the places where TripAdvisor competition isn't is everywhere they could have been — on the places they review.
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