TripAdvisorYelp

TripAdvisor and Yelp may be two of the largest companies in the world when it comes to seeking out advice from the average consumer, but these brands are also trying to expand their revenue streams by increasing booking options on each of their respective websites.

Yelp, known more for being the leading online restaurant-review site, will be offering hotel bookings at its site for the first time, thanks to an agreement reached last week with metasearch site Hipmunk.  Similar to partnerships ResortsandLodges.com has with companies including The Vacation Bridge, Barefoot Technologies, Genares, these connections enable users to books rooms without leaving Yelp’s desktop or mobile sites.

Instant Booking from TripAdvisor
Taking online bookings is not a new development for TripAdvisor, widely considered the top travel review provider online with more than a billion online reviews for properties across the globe.  In May, the company officially announced the release of Instant Booking for its mobile application.

TripAdvisor’s main problem with Instant Booking has been a lack of partners willing to sign on.  When the mobile booking platform launched, Choice Hotels and Getaroom.com were the two most notable brands to collaborate with the review leader.  In July, TripAdvisor added hotel inventory from GDS operator Travelport, and October brought a connection with more than 4,000 Best Western hotels in more than 100 countries.

Why Shift Focus from Reviews?
Both Yelp and TripAdvisor are working to diversify their revenue sources and pull booking share from other intermediaries such as online travel agencies (OTAs) by letting site visitors book hotel rooms, restaurant tables, and reservations at other travel attractions without leaving these review sites.

By generating more direct bookings, TripAdvisor and Yelp can potentially boost advertising revenue by keeping their visitors on their sites for longer periods of time.

Both Yelp and TripAdvisor have faced pressure from analysts and investors as online destination-booking growth continues to outpace more traditional methods of reserving a restaurant reservation or hotel room.

RAL Take
Similar to the pivot that ResortsandLodges.com made in January of 2014, Yelp and TripAdvisor are simply trying to gain additional streams of revenue in a highly competitive online marketplace.  Advertising revenue from hotels and resorts across the country are sky high right now, but those numbers will only increase as travelers spend longer periods of time on site/book directly through the site.

The disconnect I am having with this news revolves around Yelp offering hotel bookings through their website.  They have already established themselves as a leader in the Food and Beverage/Restaurant industry.  Will Yelp be battling with TripAdvisor to take online and mobile bookings?  Can Yelp find their own niche within the online bookings marketplace, or will this be a flawed attempt to find additional revenue streams?  It will be interesting to see as the answers to these questions formulate in the near future.

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