What is and How Can You Use TripAdvisor?
In it’s simplest form, TripAdvisor is an online travel website that contains information designed to help you make better travel choices.
Travel is another of many areas that have been intermediated and thanks to technology it’s become yet another in a growing list of DIY activities.
But, using online travel websites can sometimes be daunting, given the sheer magnitude of information available. And, there is a multitude of content provided by hotels, property management staff or ‘travellers’, not that is either dishonest or out of date. Some even go as far as providing special ‘deals’ are offered, showing images from other sections of a resort not what’s on offer, to trick consumers into making quick purchases without fully researching where they are travelling.
Fact #1 Is TripAdvisor different?
Yes, TripAdvisor is different. It gives you information about accommodations written by the travellers who have actually been to these places – people just like you. You can learn from their experiences.
TripAdvisor is an online site where users give users information, providing travel information and booking services but also includes photos, forums and recent reviews about various hotels and vacation properties around the world.
Whether you’re looking at a geographic area or at a specific resort property or hotel, you can gain added insight from people who have stayed there and see if it’s a place that will meet your needs.
Fact #2 – How Does TripAdvisor Make Money?
Of course, TripAdvisor is a business. It’s created to make money and to help users. By understanding how it does both, users can make informed choices.
Does TripAdvisor require you to book through their site? No. Do you have to pay to use it? No.
So, how does it make money?
TripAdvisor uses the click-based advertising model showcasing other booking websites to you, the user, while you’re finding the information you’re reviewing.
So, when you see a property, TripAdvisor shows you its prices on its partner websites. If you then go to a partner website to make your booking, TripAdvisor earns a percentage of your total booking price.
You’ll see that the ads on TripAdvisor are vacation related, resorts, hotels, motels, hostels, etc. Like most Algorithm-based sites, he more you use it, the more it will learn about your interests and the more it will cater to them.
Fact #3 – You Can Use TripAdvisor to Read Traveler Reviews
Use it to gain insight. TripAdvisor has reviews written by millions of everyday travellers just like you. You can learn from their experience, pick up local tips and hints, become aware of things you may not have considered and overall just get a far broader and deeper understanding of the vacation options you’re considering.
When you pair that with the ability to be able to sort on different travel options, TripAdvisor should help you to find properties and options that are the best fit given your personal preferences.
You would hope that when travellers from all over the world have reviewed accommodations and locations based on their own, real experiences, that this would provide you with fodder for making your own travel plans.
Fact #4 – You Can Book Your Travel with TripAdvisor
As explained, TripAdvisor isn’t a booking website. TripAdvisor has established partnerships with existing booking websites. This relationship gives you access to the final piece of the travel-booking puzzle. – The prices charged.
You can view prices and instantly compare for the best deal with TripAdvisor partners, as well as the other available deals outside their partner network.
So, if you’ve made your decision and found the best price, you can click directly through to a partner website and actually book your vacation, knowing you have found the best deal and the lots of insight and rationale provided by other travellers to support your choice.
Fact #5 – You Can Help Others by Writing Your Own Reviews
User-generated content sites like TripAdvisor rely on the content, in this case, reviews, provided by users. So, you’ve seen the benefits user reviews provide. Why not offer a little ‘quid pro quo’ and write your own review?
Each of us has unique tastes, experiences and preferences, so add yours to the list! Why not help future travellers, by providing tips on the best seats or meal choices in the resorts restaurant, best times to walk the beach, or best day trips to consider. This way you can help other travellers planning their getaways just as you received help when you planned yours.
And, don’t forget to include some photos so they can see for themselves!
Fact #6 – You Can Save Your Favourites
There are so many options available to us these days. The number and variety of vacation options on TripAdvisor is no exception. To make sense of it all, you can build your own favourites list as you browse, identifying those options that meet your criteria and price range, giving you a more manageable list of options for consideration or for sharing with a potential travel mate.
Favouriting is a great tool, because it helps you remember places you’re interested in as you plan your trip. You can find day trips, restaurants, great gift shops, local attractions, etc. If you want options for filling in your travel itinerary, the favourites option is a powerful tool. Plus it can also help you by keeping a record of the places you’ve been.
Fact #7 – TripAdvisor is Not an Advanced Booking Website
While you can connect to the ability to book right on TripAdvisor, it is the newest feature of the website. So, it’s not quite as extensive as you would find on other booking websites like Booking.com or Expedia.com or Kayak.com where you can sort, sift and search on a multitude of other features.
To guarantee that you get the best prices and deals, you may want to consider referencing a number of established booking websites as well.
Fact #8 – TripAdvisor Features Real Images From Real Travelers
Along with the multitude of traveller reviews, TripAdvisor allows its users to share photographs of their own experiences. These aren’t the ultra staged, marketing magic, brochure type images designed to make you drool over the options, they are regular photos taken by regular people that provide yet another perspective of the experience. Some great, some not so great, but as they say, a picture can be worth a 1,000 words and it you will probably remember it better.
We’ve all been there – you’ve booked a stay at a hotel or resort, and then when you arrived, your room had no resemblance to the photos on the website or in the glossy brochure?
TripAdvisor’s solution is to allow travellers to add their own photos, so that their users get a much more realistic impression of where you are going BEFORE you book!
Fact #9 – There is a Great Variety of Information Here
Our final fact ties this all together. It is a fact that TripAdvisor provides a valuable service. TripAdvisor offers insight into numerous different aspects of the travel experience. You can learn just about every detail about your accommodations, the surrounding infrastructure, or the city you’ll be travelling to. TripAdvisor even has travel guides that are designed to help you decide where to go and what to do when you actually reach your destination!
We live in the information age. There is so much available to us at our fingertips.
You can do as much research before you book as you want, which should greatly increase your chance of making a good decision when you finally choose to book. This may be fine for most people, but it also makes us a little sad when we reminisce about the days gone by when travel represented the great unknown.
We actually travelled so we could learn all these things that are available to us online. It leaves us wondering, has the experience of travel changed for the better or for worse? Is it still as appealing as it was in the past? Or, is it better because “forearmed” is “forewarned”?
What are your thoughts? Has modern travel lost its mystery? Is travel serendipity a thing of the past?
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Your, 4Retirees team