TripAdvisor is a travel website that helps users decide where to go and where to stay while they are there. The website focuses on user created reviews and content. Users can also share their photographs and hold discussions on the TripAdvisor forums. A search form on the homepage lets the user choose from hotels, flights, restaurants, vacation rentals and things to do. The user can also provide a city or hotel name to refine their search. City and travel guides are also available as well as trip ideas to help the user get started planning their next vacation or business trip. Each business listing includes a wealth of information so the user can view price range, location, amenities, contact information and any current special offers.
TripAdvisor was founded by Stephen Kaufer in February of 2000. The endeavor was financed by Flagship Ventures and Bollard Group as well as private investors. Many internet users have heard of TripAdvisor. The application has grown and was acquired in 2004 by InterActive Corporation. In 2008, TripAdvisor acquired holiday Watchdog and VirtualTourist. The company continued to grow by adding FlipKey and the Chinese travel site, Kuxun.cn. In 2011, it was announced that TripAdvisor and its related sites would be split from the parent company, Expedia.
TripAdvisor offers a number of helpful details to users however it doesn’t offer anything new or interesting beyond that. While newer travel applications are focusing on new ways to approach travel, TripAdvisor seems to remain focused on basic business information. The site includes user reviews, which can be very valuable when planning a trip. The site also houses a variety of additional resources, including city guides and travel articles.
TripAdvisor utilizes a simple green and white color scheme with the occasional scenic photograph. Users will find advertisements scattered throughout the site. While these are generally promoting travel-related services and products, they can still be a distraction to some users. Embedded maps help users see the location of each rental, restaurant or landmark. The business profile pages supply users with a lot of information in a relatively small space. Overall, the layout and design helps contain the content so it is easy to read without putting the user through information overload.
A new visitor is not required to sign in to view TripAdvisor content. Those who wish to create an account can do so by clicking the blue “Register Now!” link in the upper, right hand corner of the homepage. A form pops up and asks the user for an email address, password first and last name, display name and current city. A blue and white button at the top of the form is available for users who prefer to sign up with a Face book account. The next step asks if the user is interested in any of the listed travel deals. After completing or skipping the second step, the user is automatically logged in.
TripAdvisor does not charge users a fee for its services. Doing so would only discourage users from returning to the website. The information presented is available for free through a number of resources. The site also includes advertisements which help cover the cost of operation and generate revenue for the site. The user will have to pay any applicable fees and costs when booking a flight, hotel stay or booking any other kind of reservation through TripAdvisor. Users are not required to make any purchases to maintain an account.
TripAdvisor is a good resource for users who plan to travel. The application can help the user decide where to book their hotel stay and which restaurants or rentals to consider while they are away. The site is best used as a secondary resource because there is some information it does not provide. Some locations may not be as well covered by the website’s user base, but those that are will also provide the added insight of user reviews and comments on the forums.