What it means for consumers, travel companies & media outlets
Starting in Dec 2010, when a Facebook logged-in user visit TripAdvisor, the site will become a personalized travel planner, complete with users’ Facebok friends’ reviews, a map showing places friends have visited, and a list of their most popular destinations.
For example, when a logged in Facebook user researching a location, hotel or restaurant, she/he will be able to read friends’ reviews first, so they can make better trip/holidays decisions. And if they need some inspiration, the new personalized TripAdvisor home page will now show a world map with all the places FB friends have said they’ve been using the “TripAdvisor’s Cities I’ve Visited” app.
What this mean for travelers
It is an amazing, personalized and easy way to get trusted information. Travelers will be able to take travels decisions based on friends reviews/advice.
What this mean for travel businesses
Travel businesses will have to put in place a consistent social media strategy to monitor deeply and frequently social media conversations, reviews and comments as it is now so easy to take decision based on friends comments/reviews. Search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) will loose share on generating leads to travel business as people will trust more friends comments/reviews than the highly optimized top 10 links on Google search results. I can see travel companies start reducing SEM spend and shifting it into social media. A great option is to create and promote campaigns/competitions that incentivize great reviews of your business on TripAdvisor and social media channels…as this will become more and more important for any travel related business.
What this mean for travel related Media Outlets
The times when travel magazines (travel+leisure owned by American Express - Conde Nast Traveler owned by Diners Club), travel guides (Lonely planet - world largest travel digital media player owned by BBC Worldwide), travel organizers (TripIt), travel agencies brochures and travel news articles where the main source of trusted information are gone. Now, it is all around what a user’s friends are commenting and reviewing as it is the most trusted source of information. Travel journos will have to work harder to offer relevant and unbias travel information/advice.
Not all Facebook users’ friends might have already used the TripAdvisor site or the “Cities I have visited” App so some might not have a great choice of friends’ reviews and comments.
As travel and leisure tend to be activities on the go…I did not see the integration live on the TripAdvisor App for the I-phone. I am totally sure this will be the next step, specially when the Tripadvisor app could potentially show friends comments/reviews for travel providers nearby the smart-phone user location in real time.
Is this beta or part of a new trend?
It is not beta, it is finally digital content becoming personalized. I haven’t seen the the big publishers doing this yet (News Corp, Viacom, AOL, etc) but they will.
Friends on social channels (Facebook, FourSquare, Bebo, Linkedin, etc) will become your favourite editors and curators of key relevant content.
Who I would expect some reaction
I would expect LonelyPlanet to add very quickly social generated content for their website and very important to their country/city apps ($7.99 each) for smart phones.