Luckily for me, being a stay-at-home type, I don’t have to do much business travel. But next time I do, I’ll try a site called tripadvisor. You key in your destination, dates and so on, and you get lists of hotels, things to do, reviews and photos — from users. Many travel sites suffer from delays in being updated, but tripadvisor is using social networking — wikis — to keep up to date. Do I sound like an ad? I hope not. But tripadvisor does seem to be doing pretty well. Apparently it is now the second most popular travel guide site in the world (up from eighth last year), its strength lying partly in being a portal to other travel sites rather than having to generate all of its own content.
Behind the scenes, there has been a bit of a battle going on, with hoteliers posting glowing recommendations and travellers posting horror stories, pictures of mouldy rooms, etc. But, to quote from EPS, a publishing alerting service to which I subscribe, "TripAdvisor earlier this month [April] initiated a beta launch of TripAdvisor Inside — essentially a complete Wikipedia for travel. London and Los Angeles are the initial travel destinations covered, and the feature is planned to be rolled out to all 23,000 destinations covered by the end of this quarter. A look at the Los Angeles site shows typically detailed, Wikipedia-style entries on architecture, culture, history, neighborhoods, recommended reading, things-to-do categories, and so on. If TripAdvisor successfully leverages its user base of 18 million monthly users as real-time guidebook authors,
as certainly appears likely, it will surely live up to its goal of being the ultimate travel resource – and set a significant benchmark in the commercialization of Web 2.0 business models."
Well, I don’t know — next time I have to undertake some business travel to LA, I’ll let you know how it goes. But don’t hold your breath.