Update: In 2015, TripAdvisor launched TripConnect Instant Booking, which is an alternative to TripConnect CPC (details below). The Instant Booking model is a flat commission fee for bookings made on TripAdvisor, and delivered to your hotel via the Central Reservation System. More details can be found on TripAdvisor‘s website.
What is TripConnect?
TripConnect is a service provided by the giant review site TripAdvisor, which allows independent hotels worldwide to bid directly on the site, thus driving traffic from TripAdvisor to their own booking engines.
How it works
Acting as a hotel meta-search engine, TripConnect is able to pull and display both real time rates and availability, on a predefined set of search terms (e.g. for a given hotel, on a specific date range, and a specific number of people or rooms) from a variety of sources including Online Travel Agents (OTAs) such as Booking.com or Expedia, as well as the hotel’s own official website.
TripConnect works on a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) model. The hotel places a bid to display their direct rates and availability, and will only pay each time a consumer clicks through to their own website’s booking engine. The more you spend, the higher your property’s listing will appear on TripAdvisor’s Hotel Price Comparison Search box, and the more likely will be for users to see your listing and click on it. The service also allows you to control your bidding budget, by setting budget caps.
What are the advantages for the consumer?
From a consumer point of view, the user experience is made significantly more effective through offering comparative pricing, hotel reviews and the ability to book directly all in one place. One only needs to look at the growing importance of players like Trivago, Kayak or even Google’s own Hotel Finder, in the last decade, to understand how the consumer is embracing the concept of meta-search for hotel bookings.
What are the benefits for the hotel?
But if Meta-Search Engines are nothing new, and have been around for the past decade, what is so special about TripConnect? Well, for a start, this is the first time independent hotels will be able to compete in a market which was previously only accessible to the big players such as large chains. And the beauty of it all is that owners of smaller properties will be able to direct TripAdvisor users to their own booking engines, putting aside middlemen like OTAs and Google search rankings.
Images courtesy of: TripAdvisor
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