Friday, July 17, 2009

TripAdvisor Launches Family Vacation Critic in its Own Image

TripAdvisor, with an assist from its Cruise Critic brand, this week quietly launched Family Vacation Critic, which adds into the TripAdvisor Media Network another hotel review site and advertising/media business.

As with TripAdvisor, people can write reviews of "family-friendly hotels" without any proof that they have stayed at the property.

Family Vacation Critic represents a crafty move by TripAdvisor because some of the content of Family Vacation Critic amounts to a repackaging of TripAdvisor content -- and some of the repackaging is a carbon copy.

For example, if you look up Bishop's Lodge Resort & Spa in Santa Fe on TripAdvisor, you'll see that it gets a 3.5 TripAdvisor Traveler Rating.

If you scroll down and examine the traveler reviews by trip type, you'll see that 22 are family oriented reviews. And lo and behold, the review at the top of the heap is entitled: Beutiful (sic) lodge with a great view and very relaxing enjoyable time with family.

You know where I'm going with this, right?

You'll find a snippet of the same review on Family Vacation Critic if you scroll down the page a bit.

It's just a snippet of the review -- that's important.

Because when you click on that review to read more of it on Family Vacation Critic, it links you back to

So what TripAdvisor has done with Family Vacation Critic is launch a site that will bring it extra eyes/traffic, bring it new advertising/media revenue from the new site, and drive more visitors to itself to bolster its traffic and advertising dollars there.

Family Vacation Critic's terms of use give it relatively free-wheeling use of user-written reviews. It's unclear to me whether reviews written on Family Vacation Critic can be posted on, but I am betting they can. The terms state: "You hereby grant Family Vacation Critic the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display any message or photo posted or uploaded to Family Vacation Critic's forum or in our published user reviews (in whole or in part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed."

So TripAdvisor basically is leveraging its existing relationships with hotels, adding some family oriented content to Family Vacation Critic to take advantage of a hot travel sector, and segmenting existing reviews and content from to increase its already substantial footprint.

Sure, there are seemingly unique features on Family Vacation Critic, and the site is only in beta and will evolve.

For example, a Deals tab on Family Vacation Critic offers direct booking on the hotels' websites.

TripAdvisor doesn't have a Deals tab per se. Perhaps the Family Vacation Critic Deals tab will lead to a similar positioning on

After all, deal publishing and "deals" are hot, with existing entrants like Travelzoo and new entrants like and

Family Vacation Critic undoubtedly will be an effective way for TripAdvisor to slice and dice its content, and to continue its impressive growth.


Hudson Crossing said...

The kings of SEO continue to find new ways to leverage their content - love it.

Dennis Schaal said...

Hudson Crossing: On a smaller scale, TripAdvisor has a good SEO competitor in UpTake. Have you seen Travel Insights 100? I particularly like the Travel Industry News section, but I'm prejudiced. But a smart SEO move by Yen, Elliott, Pat and the rest of the UpTake gang.