The swiss army knife of travel plans
The idea of missing a flight terrifies me. I grew up in a family where it was customary to arrive at the airport 5 hours before the flight. Extensive planning has always been part of the itinerary of all my trips. Precisely my trips have always started with an idea, and that idea ends up turning into an exhaustive search for the ideal destination. A city? A beach? Where am I going to stay? Which airline should I consult?
According to the last official count, the UN gives a result of 195 countries around the world. On the other hand, the number of tourist destinations found on planet earth is almost impossible to determine exactly. In a world with such an enormous territorial extension, we would not be able to see it all in a single lifetime. This leads us to focus only on the places we really want to visit, which is a challenge for indecisive tourists like me.
Luckily in 1999, TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP) was born by founder Stephen Kaufer and his wife when they determined that travel agencies were not providing substantial information about destinations and hotels. ”Who can provide a more genuine review than the travellers themselves?” he thought after his wife tried to find reviews on a particular hotel without success. That’s how he started a company that managed to consolidate itself as a worldwide reference in the hotel and tourism sector.
Because of my experience, most of my family lives in Ecuador, and moving there from Venezuela has always been a challenge. Flights from my country have not always been an easy task, especially because not all routes are covered. To visit a country as close as Ecuador, sometimes I had to make stopovers in countries like Panama (yes, on the other side). But this is where TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP) becomes my superhero. The platform has allowed me to analyze different flights to make sure I always choose the best option and save money in the process.
But without a doubt, when I saw the potential of TripAdvisor was the moment I wanted to visit something other than the half of the world located in Quito (the most famous tourist attraction in the country), I wanted to see something more local, and I got on the app that there was a town whose symbol is an ice cream popsicle, due to the fact that they are famous for producing a creamy popsicle ice cream of various flavours. Upon visiting the town, the first thing I saw was a statue of a popsicle, and I knew right away that I had gotten what I was looking for.
For tourists similar to me who are so hesitant but at the same time so thorough, TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP) is what I would call an ”all-in-one,” the Swiss Army Knife of the hospitality industry. They take the whole schematic process of planning your trip down to a few clicks on their platform.
A company made by and for users that is sustained at the same time by users with 463 million active users every month, more than 1 billion opinions and comments on 8.6 million accommodations, restaurants, etc. However, its greatest strength is also its greatest disadvantage: considering the massive amount of users, the quality and thoroughness of many reviews can result in not so accurate information, which indicates that we should avoid simple reviews and concentrate on those who really want to share their genuine experience with us and the rest.
The company has undergone some radical changes throughout its history. It was acquired by IAC/InterActiveCorp in 2004. A year later, it was spun off from the parent group and eventually became Expedia. In 2009, it expanded into the Asian market and renamed itself Dao Dao. By July 2011, it had more than 20,000 hotels and restaurants and was consolidated in that market. After that year, it separated from Expedia. As of today, the company has a market capitalization of $2990 million.
Positioning itself as the number one company in a sector that generates 5.5% of the world economy (and twice as much before the pandemic) can only be achieved by companies that really make a difference. Promoting tourism is a fast track to have a strong impact on job creation worldwide, now, facilitating it has double merit. It is well known that if your business is not online, your business does not exist, and this is a maxim that becomes especially severe when it comes to entering the hospitality industry.
In a world where everything is increasingly interconnected and borders are blurring in online environments, TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP) proves that to travel you only need your passport and an internet connection.