TripAdvisor buys Tripbod as focus broadens to local services
Terms of the deal were not disclosed by TripAdvisor, but Tripbod CEO Sally Broom and its chief operating officer Tim Loonen will be moving as part of the acquisition and will be based at the user review giant’s London office.
Tripbod was launched by Broom in September 2009 and has taken only a nominal level of investment so far – an “upper six figures” round from an angel in March 2012 and a small injection from Rough Guides founder Martin Dunford who joined as an advisor in late-2010.
The idea is that local experts (“thousands”, the company has said for a number of years) share their favourite places and things to do with tourists before and during a trip.
TripAdvisor says during the transition the TripBod site will remain live. It is unclear as to the long term fate of the strategic partnerships signed before acquisition and how much integration (if any) there will be with the existing TripAdvisor service.
“Today is a very special day for everyone connected to Tripbod, not least our fantastic community. Anyone can see the fit with TripAdvisor is perfect, so we are naturally very excited about the next chapter.
“We also hope this achievement gives courage and faith to the many other business like ours that have battled through the startup curve, not least those in the UK trying to make a break on the global stage.”
Broom and Loonen will both report into James Conroy, senior director of product at TripAdvisor’s head office in Massachusetts, US.
The acquisition again signals in part TripAdvisor’s evolution away from the core hotel reviews.
Recent years have seen it open up to a full-blooded hotel metasearch and, as CEO Steve Kaufer explained this time last year, looking to mobile destination services and tours and activities.
Adam Medros, senior vice president for global product at TripAdvisor, says:
“The Tripbod team understands the important role a strong community plays in helping travelers plan and have the perfect trip.
“Both companies have a shared vision when it comes to delivering on that promise. We are pleased to welcome Tripbod to TripAdvisor as we work together on future developments.”
TripAdvisor’s spending spree has continued apace during 2014, with the Triobod deal coming just days after it snapped up Vacation Home Rentals for an undisclosed fee.
Tripbod joins a growing list of startups which have been snapped up by TripAdvisor in recent years including deals service Jetsetter, flight information brand GateGuru and hotel site Oyster, all during 2013.
Kevin is senior editor and a co-founder at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and publishes his first book - a biography about Depeche Mode - in early-2017.