TripAdvisor announced that later this year it will relaunch its app as a connected travel community with improved search and social features. The update, which should help rid the site of fake reviews and recommendations, will move the company from serving as a travel source to a social network with search features based on trusted accounts that allow travelers to research information, find content, and book hotels from within the app.
Most recently, TripAdvisor had been fighting the Italian company PromoSalento in court for posting fake reviews. The owner of the company received a nine-month jail sentence and a $9,300 fine for providing hotel and restaurant reviews for a fee. TripAdvisor detailed the steps it took to prosecute the business owner.
The update -- which aims to make content easy to discover -- supports about 45 million unique monthly users, 630 million reviews and opinions and more than 310 new contributions posted each minute. But with content partnerships such as one the with National Geographic, the company hopes to increase the numbers.
National Geographic wants to connect with the travel community, so it partnered with TripAdvisor early in the beta to produce content that travelers want to read and see.
“We’re going social and getting personal,” said Steve Kaufer, TripAdvisor chief executive officer, during a press conference Monday.
The site has become known for being a platform to search and discover content, where people post photos, but the latest version aims to become a site for professional content creators at brands or social media influencers looking to connect with people who have a high propensity to travel.
The platform is in beta and should be live by the end of the year, Kaufer said.
Travel Feed, one of the new features built on machine learning in the latest version of the app, expands the travel community and allows users to easily see the updates from brands, friends and travel experts they choose, including information such as the best sushi restaurant or the most convenient hotel in Barcelona.
Factored into the content and experience, data collected from machine learning signals such as whether the traveler is in the planning stages or on the trip.
Building a personal travel network allows users to save information on events and experiences to highlight a profile page to share experiences. It also enables travelers to save vacation tips on destinations and share them personally with anyone they choose.
The update also makes searching on the platform easier, finding “true friends” through profiles and other clues. The new version provides “follow support” so users can find recommendations from people and brands they trust and may not know, as well as publishers like Popsugar, Travel Channel, Travel Babble, and National Geographic.
Trips, another new feature in the platform, allows users to save content on destinations and share it privately as an itinerary or publicly to friends, rather than sending a text message or email with links.