TripAdvisor is the latest travel brand to partner with Foursquare,
the company that began as a social check-in app for consumers but in recent
years has evolved to focus on providing location intelligence data to
TripAdvisor is embedding Foursquare’s Pilgrim SDK (software
development kit) into its mobile app to improve the location-based, real-time
information and recommendations it can provide to travelers.
In an email, TripAdvisor says, "We think their [Foursquare’s]
offering will complement our existing technology and help us give travelers a
great experience when using TripAdvisor to plan and book the perfect trip."
Foursquare’s data comes from a variety of sources including more than
13 billion check-ins since the app launched in 2009 and 50 million current
active users of its Foursquare City Guide and Foursquare Swarm apps. The platform sees location data from over 375 million devices every year - more than 250
million of which are in the United States – through its apps and data from partners. The
platform also has more than 105 million venues mapped around the world.
Along with basic information about locations and hours, the
database includes user-provided content such as photos, menu information and
Foursquare vice president of enterprise Sam Weber says the Pilgrim
SDK combines that information with the platform’s “stop-detection technology,”
which uses GPS and Wi-Fi signals to “quickly and very accurately detect where you
are and snap you to a specific place,” enabling the system to send relevant,
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“They [TripAdvisor] are very keen on making sure when they share
information about a venue or a location with their users that it is the most
fresh and up-to-date and personal as it can be,” Weber says.
“What we allowed them to do was get there faster because we have
core technology that is somewhat off the shelf and is embeddable, and they
could reach their target objectives of getting these features into their hands
in a much more rapid fashion.”
Foursquare says the partnership is part of TripAdvisor’s “socially
assistive app experience,” an update the brand announced in September.
In September, Hilton announced it was adding location-based
recommendations to its Hilton Honors mobile app, powered by another Foursquare enterprise
service: its Places API.
“While with Hilton we are more core and powering many of the
features in their Explore application, with TripAdvisor we are more of an
enhancement,” Weber says.
Weber says Foursquare realized in 2014 that it was “sitting on top
of a very important and powerful data set” that had value for consumer brands.
That began the development of its enterprise services, which is drawing notable
interest from travel brands of late.
“We have pilots in play with a handful of the big hotel brands
beyond Hilton, and they are all looking to do very similar things to what
Hilton is doing. ... In and around the planning, dreaming and visiting concepts
within the travel segment,” he says.
”And then we’ve had many conversations that are ongoing with some of
the big online travel agencies - nothing actually signed yet but in play and
high levels of interest in adding Foursquare to their mobile and digital
The company says this momentum on the enterprise side is also validated
by its announcement in September of a Series F funding round of $33 million, co-led
by Simon Ventures and Naver Corp, with participation from Union Square
Ventures, an existing investor.
To date, Foursquare has raised more than $240 million.
“We have been a semi-quiet company around our enterprise focus up
until recently, and in 2019 I think the market in general will become much more
aware of just how capable we are,” Weber says.
“We believe, as compared to other players in the market, the only
one that comes close to Facebook and Google in the location awareness space is Foursquare.
And we provide a really strong alternative to the tools they have in market and
can augment what they are doing even if we are not competing.
"We are third in
market, if not first, from a pure location technology perspective, and we’ll
make a lot of noise about it next year.”
REGISTER NOW! TripAdvisor, Expedia Group, Booking Holdings, Ctrip and others speak at The Phocuswright Conference 2018
for details, tickets and the program for this year's
event in Los Angeles, November 13-15.