TripAdvisor has rolled out instant booking for hotels on its mobile app and website.
Rather than simply being another metasearch tool used to research before booking off-site, the ability to book immediately means that the company now competes more directly with OTAs.
This also means that TripAdvisor can maintain control over the user experience throughout the purchase lifecycle rather than pushing customers off-site. More importantly than simply the ease-of-experience is the enhanced opportunity for incremental revenues via cross-merchandising by TripAdvisor and its partners.
In the announcement, TripAdvisor's SVP of Global Product Adam Medros:
TripAdvisor is launching the instant booking feature to remove ‘friction’ from the mobile booking process and improve the customer experience on mobile by allowing travelers to make a reservation without leaving the TripAdvisor environment.
Instant booking not only provides a more efficient hotel booking experience for travelers, but benefits our hotel and online travel agency partners with the potential for more bookings and improved downstream conversion.
Initial partners for the instant booking include Tingo, Choice Hotels, and Getaroom.com. The inventory will come via integrations with these third parties rather than a proprietary solution for accessing available hotel inventory.
This new feature allows TripAdvisor to also serve travelers already in-destination, or those using smartphones to book travel.
The potential to offer additional products is also much more feasible with this feature enabled, as TripAdvisor begins to build consumer trust in the on-site booking experience. One only has to look at the company's continued focus on the full trip, such as the purchase of La Fourchette, to see how the company could eventually offer restaurant reservations and other products after booking a hotel on-site.
NB: Smartphone image courtesy Shutterstock.