TripAdvisor is to tap into the vast array of connections already in play via Facebook to launch its first personalised recommendation system for hotels.
The accommodation review giant has long promised a system that is more helpful to the user by providing recommendations and tips from those that may have the same requirements or preferences.
And now it looks to have done it - but perhaps not in the way many would have expected, using the vastness of the Facebook population and its existing Cities I've Visited application rather than building some kind of complicated profiling system within TripAdvisor itself.
The way it works is actually very simple:
Users can search for a particular destination or hotel page on TripAdvisor.
In a prominent module on the page the user can log into their Facebook account via Facebook Connect.
If the user has connection through the Cities I've Visited application (it currently has five million active users, so a fairly high chance that a friend will have used it), the profile will be displayed.
The user can then post a question about the destination or hotel direct to their wall from within the system or send a message to those that have signalled they visited.
Once the question is live the usual Facebook tools take over, allowing friends to respond via private message or as a comment on a user's wall.
These messages are not only displayed in the user's Facebook profile but back in the TripAdvisor system, as long as the user is still signed in with Facebook Connect.
Don't be fooled, this system is a significant (and will probably be an extremely welcome) addition to the TripAdvisor platform and is a smart integration of a consumer's existing use of Facebook to help customer's get a better understanding about a destination or hotel.
The system is tapping into the social graph now seen as the number one growth potential of Facebook and will probably evolve into a wider use of the Facebook Questions project already in development.