Be afraid – TripAdvisor is playing the long game with Instant Booking

TripAdvisor’s second-quarter results highlight how it plans to improve its Instant Booking product now that the global roll-out is complete and more than half a million properties can be booked this way.

In a “prepared remarks” document hosted on its investor relations site, CEO Steve Kaufer outlined the four phases of Instant Booking.

The first phase is “building up supply” with hotel chains, OTAs and independent hoteliers. He noted that many hotels are using self-service tools to manage their Instant Booking presence and that accommodations can “leverage the consumer information we share.”

Phase Two is the completed global rollout – with all major markets now featuring Instant Booking. During the second quarter it was introduced to Russia and Japan.

As an aside, there is a chart in the analysts presentation which breaks down TripAdvisor’s overall revenue by region, which shows that North America is its most important region by some distance, accounting for nearly 60% of the revenues.

trip 1

Back to Instant Booking, the third initiative is around making the booking experience even better, For consumers this is about supply and speed, particularly on mobile; for hoteliers it is working with them to improve conversion rates.

Optimising the use of images, panoramas and walk-throughs is one area where it is seeing success.
Interestingly, within this section, Kaufer hints at a new product offering:

“We are testing ways to make it easier to  find the lowest room prices across the one million hotels, inns, and B&B properties listed on TripAdvisor, regardless of whether it is offered by a partner in metasearch or in instant booking.”

And finally, TripAdvisor sees “earning a user’s trust as their booking site of choice” as potentially its biggest long-term business driver”. He talks about “brand re-education” and notes that, already, the percentage of bookings made using stored credit cards is on the rise.

New first-time users of Instant Booking are converting more highly than previous first-time users, while at the same time repeat users convert more highly than first-timers.

“We continue to play the long game as we navigate our business to deliver the best user experience in travel,” he said.

In terms of the numbers, revenue for the quarter came in a $391 million, 3% on the previous quarter. While Kaufer had warned the market that revenues would drop, the shortfall is more than the market expected.

trip 2

Click here to access the TripAdvisor investor relations page, from where the earning release, presentation for analysts and prepared remarks can be accessed.

Related reading from Tnooz:

TripAdvisor CEO goes on the defensive after scathing foodie and travel writer column (July 2016)
TripAdvisor revamps its flights metasearch, adds Flyscore ratings (July 2016)
TripAdvisor sees further financial dampening as instant booking takes hold [2016 Q1s] (May 2016

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Martin Cowen

About the Writer :: Martin Cowen

Martin Cowen is contributing editor for tnooz and is based in the UK. Besides reporting and editing, he also oversees our sponsored content initiative and works directly with clients to produce articles and reports. For the past several years he has worked as a freelance writer, specialising in B2B distribution and technology. Before freelancing, from 2000-2008, he was launch editor for, the first online-only B2B daily news service for the UK travel sector.



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  1. emre

    easiest thing for them to expand their instant booking would be developing a simple inverntory & pricing control panel that is compatible with most channel managers, so that the effort to educate hoteliers and acquisition would be much more efficient.


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