TripAdvisor vows OTA independence as major growth plans revealed

TripAdvisor is to launch in China and India by the end of 2008 and also reiterated its pledge to remain OTA-neutral as it looks to build white label partnerships in the UK.

Chief executive Steve Kaufer told Travolution the user review site will attempt to grow its global audience massively in the coming months with local language sites for two of the biggest emerging tourist markets in the world, as well as a dedicated portal for Japan.

The launches in Asia follow a string of new sites in Europe over the past 12 months including France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Kaufer also stated the Expedia Inc-owned outfit would work with any travel provider – regardless of market rivalries with TripAdvisor’s parent company – in order to extend its hotel review white label system.

TripAdvisor would partner with big online travel agency sites such as Opodo, Ebookers or, despite the trio being direct and fierce competitors to Expedia in the UK, Kaufer explained.

The stance has raised many eyebrows in the past but has been the bedrock of TripAdvisor’s growth policy since Expedia Inc bought the company in 2004.

The company has formed a number of important and strategic partnerships in the past year in the UK including landmark deals with Thomson Holidays and Sky Travel.

The Sky Travel partnership was created in conjunction with Expedia Private Label. TripAdvisor also bought HolidayWatchdog in February 2008.

Expedia UK, which stated its desire to include TripAdvisor reviews on its own site for almost two years, is still without a feed from its sister company.

Caroline Cartellieri, a former managing director of Expedia, told Travolution when still in office in May 2007 that reviews would be included by the end of year.

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