TripAdvisor dominates web visits, so no wonder everyone is scared

It is nearly three years since TripAdvisor started its shift away from being solely a review site (with lots of display and link advertising).

When the site introduced its first, tentative steps into metasearch, in January 2013 there were many that could see what the move would do to the wider intermediary landscape.

And, of course, many who doubted its impact.

The reality was that the largest travel website in the world, with an enviable number of monthly visits, was also going to become a travel “seller”, initially going up against the hotel metasearch engines.

With the launch of on-site booking capability, TripAdvisor’s position (at least in the eyes of consumers) has gradually morphed into that of an online travel agency.

In part, but not exclusively so, TripAdvisor’s role as a “trip advisor” with a service that now also searches (and often books) products could be credited with triggering former owner Expedia Inc and Priceline Group’s obvious bolstering of their respective strategies through acquisitions in recent years.

Worth remembering that, to date, TripAdvisor has yet to REALLY push its flight metasearch product.

All this – coupled with how desperate the product suppliers, such as hoteliers and airlines, are to get more direct bookings – has seen the intermediary landscape become as fiercely competitive as it’s ever been, perhaps now even at some kind of pinnacle.

As a result, with traffic largely the biggest influence on the financial success of an intermediary (meta or OTA), attracting consumers eyeballs is obviously hugely important.

It’s been a few years since Tnooz published regular traffic measurements from Hitwise, a division of Experian Marketing Services, so we thought it would be interesting to see how the leading intermediaries stack up in terms of visits, data which now includes mobile web as well as desktop PC.

The team did three runs on its data, covering traffic in the US, UK and Australia – three of its main markets.

We included sites that are either OTA or metasearch, covering both flights and hotels (and other products), as well as flight-only and hotel-only sites. Given the shift noted above, each list includes traffic for TripAdvisor.

The data is for October 2015 and does not include year-on-year comparisons, given that this is the first time that both desktop and mobile web traffic have been combined together. Mobile app activity is not covered.







Some things to note:

Data for Google Flights is for the standalone service and does not include when users conduct a search for flights on the main Google search page and then interact with the results.

Noteworthy sites outside of the top 20 in the US include:

  • Cheapflights – 1,924,678
  • 10Best – 1,898,459
  • Hipmunk – 1,891,187

Noteworthy sites outside of the top 20 in the UK include:

  • Travelzoo UK – 3,281,728
  • Cheapflights – 2,424,737
  • LoveHolidays – 2,060,106
  • Google Flights UK – 1,924,890
  • Ebookers – 1,613,922

Noteworthy sites outside of the top 20 in Australia include:

  • CheapOAir – 508,715
  • STA Travel Australia – 444,380
  • Skyscanner – 374,917

NB: Scared man image via Shutterstock.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Martin

    Wow interesting. Few questions on this list:
    1. It seems bizarre that TripAdvisor would have more in the UK than in the US. Is this because they don’t have tracking in the US?
    2. Trivago not even on the list in the US? Is that a mistake or is that correct?
    3. Airbnb seems really low.
    4. US figures do seem really low. Maybe this should be published as a percentage rather than figures. The ranking kind of makes sense but the figures seem really low.
    Otherwise, nice – would be a great quarterly update.

  2. Mike Conyers

    Great article

    Watch out for ResDiary coming up fast on the rails for restaurant bookings.

    Mike C

  3. Kirill Khromov

    Thank you, Kevin! great article indeed. Will be quite interesting to see the numbers of the last few years defining the trends and CAGRs.

  4. Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

    Part of the problem with the list and indeed in general is the lack of acknowledgment of many large sites who are not on any of the country lists. Let’s not forget the Internet doesn’t really respect country boundaries.

    For example – I checked with one I am familiar with – Rome2Rio and they are recording in excess of 6.3 million uniques. Also there is no acknowledgement of some of the other large sites with big numbers such as the Chinese websites with Travel functions.

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @timothy – yes, I was also told about Rome2Rio’s figures… This is a global traffic statistic, so on an individual country basis it perhaps does not feature high enough to make the lists above. Same with some of the Chinese sites, as you mention.

      • Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

        Thanks Kevin
        My point here is that we need to start considering Global Reach. I have always felt that the term “Local” needs to be reconsidered in the context of Travel.



  5. RobertKCole

    OK, given the traffic estimates are all over the map and should not be treated as empirical figures, one can assume that the measurement methodology was consistent across the three segments and can be used for comparative purposes.

    Doing some quick arithmetic, aggregating the multiple brands across the three counties, the figures come out like this (let’s call them index numbers, shall we?):

    TripAvisor: 163.6 million
    Expedia: 135.5 million
    Priceline: 101.7 million
    Airbnb: 18.6 million
    Skyscanner: 18.6 million
    Fareportal: 15.8 million

    So it all comes down to maintaining (if not growing) and monetizing all that traffic. It’s going to take some pretty substantial effort to disrupt those three at the top…

    • e

      Google are on the hunt. Believe me I saw them in WTM last week
      Facebook will be in the game sooner that you can imagine.
      This is what is at the moment put see the potential people (companies) have !!! Let’s see
      Hope for a better and more competitive future

      • Kirill Khromov

        Suppose that it’s quite hard to predict the exposure on the market from entering these two monsters. Taking into account the numbers above they also clearly understand that it wouldn’t be the easy way.

  6. Paul

    Every time someone claims to be the largest travel site in the world, I always respond: ¨You must be from Google Maps then.¨

    Always a good response to a TripAdvisor ad sales person.

  7. Avijit

    As usual Kevin you delivered one more stellar post that inspires us travel tech entreprenuers to think better move faster and wirh data driven decisions rule our own indivisual roosts. I like to point out that to the many who want to become local otas or trip advisors of their regions with an aim to dominate bookings the entry point trip advisor took was of reviews and that too social reviews which gave them the traffic to monetise for bookings now but just having another desk site and spending millions to get clients just for the traffic seems Un sustainable to me in the short term as well. So the entry steategy for a business like this should be a differentiator to begin with so the world of tech and hipsitality can create more #internetmoguls

  8. Joah Spearman

    I would love to see these numbers for Millennials. I have a feeling TripAdvisor’s dominance isn’t as clear there, but still out front.

  9. Paul Broeker

    As usual, these numbers are way off and almost unusable. Nothing new on the traffic estimation front 🙂

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @paul – presumably you’re Paul Broeker, an account manager at Trivago (, so are you disputing Trivago’s place on the list? Should it rank higher than Skyscanner in the UK? Or even be in the top 20 in the US (and, again, higher than Skyscanner)…? All that money you spent on ads!!! 😉 Even if the traffic figures are “off”, maybe the positions aren’t? Please let us know your thoughts… Cheers.

      • e

        great article. thanks for that but the big players want to give something to the industry, i really hope for more creative approaches and better understanding of the clients

  10. Douglas Quinby

    Oh, Travelocity….


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