TripAdvisor is starting to look a lot more like Facebook.
The online review platform said today it will launch a new social-network component based around travel. Part Facebook, part Pinterest, part TasteMade, the new features let TripAdvisor users create profiles where they can share photos and videos of their trips as well as make recommendations and follow other travelers.
Users can also peruse a stream of content from travelers, influencers, and big media brands, and scroll through a news feed of places, venues, restaurants, and of course, hotels—all based around whatever kind of trip they may be planning. They can also bookmark various posts, putting them on lists with the company’s new “trips” feature. TripAdvisor says it has some 20 million unique visitors passing through the site a day.
The new features will become available later this year.
Though TripAdvisor has long been a source of traveler reviews, its new social network feels like a page out of Airbnb’s playbook. The home-sharing site has leveraged a committed community of users, expanding beyond accommodations and into event and restaurant booking. While much has been written about the ways in which Airbnb competes with hotels, it is increasingly competing with online travel agencies (OTAs) like TripAdvisor.
In recent years, OTAs have developed their own raft of cottage rentals to catch the home-sharing wave. But TripAdvisor seems to be competing in small ways with Airbnb, too. Its new “nearby” tool, which surfaces local restaurants and venues, smacks of Airbnb’s strategy around promoting short weekend trips to its users.
OTAs are, in some ways, the end-to-end travel platform that Airbnb hopes to become, in that they let consumers book all aspects of travel (flight, accommodation, car, attractions, etc). As OTAs get into community building, it puts them in even more direct competition with Airbnb.