Trip Advisor to launch tour operator comment tool

Trip Advisor, the ambitious consumer review service which launched its first UK portal in 2006, is to allow users to air their opinions about tour operators on a dedicated part of its site.

The new section is expected to go live in the second half of 2006 and is the first time Trip Advisor has given users the opportunity to add comments in a section specifically to rank the performance of tour operators.

The move is in response to the enormous number of trips booked with traditional tour operators by UK residents and is part of an determined strategy to push into the top three most popular travel websites in the country by the end of 2006.

The original site, launched in the US in 2000, has mostly carried reviews of holiday locations and products, such as hotels.

President and chief executive Stephen Kaufer told Travolution the new section would also benefit the tour operators as Trip Advisor provides companies with a free “marketing vehicle” for their products.

“It will be really helpful to offer commentary on individual holiday providers,” Kaufer said. “Having all the consumers out there, with the volume, with the unbiased content, is fabulous.”

The UK version of Trip Advisor was launched in January this year to provide a dedicated site for the 15% of users based in the UK. has been able to push a range of destinations popular with UK tourists, such as Australia and New Zealand, which have traditionally been less well served on the main site, Kaufer said.

The recent launches come less than two years since InterActiveCorp, owner of the Expedia and brands, bought the company for an undisclosed fee.

In January this year the US site attracted 18.5 million unique visitors.

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