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Brand World

Trip Advisor: visa pour la vérité

02/03/2015 - par Mark Tungate

Cette semaine dans sa chronique, le journaliste Mark Tungate, qui prépare un livre sur l'industrie du tourisme, se penche sur Trip Advisor, dont on célèbre le quinzième anniversaire: plus qu'une marque, une marque média alimentée par les internautes voyageurs.

So Trip Advisor is celebrating its 15th anniversary. But is it a brand? In the classic sense of the term, of course it is: it has a name and a logo. But does it provoke warm feelings among its users? Does it have a character? Would you wear a Trip Advisor t-shirt?


Actually, some of its fans just might. When you’re spending a small fortune on a family vacation, disappointment is not an option. Trip Advisor effectively made traditional travel marketing irrelevant: hotels and resorts could no longer exaggerate their attributes. For every glossy image they pasted in their brochures or on their websites, there was a Trip Advisor commentator with a smartphone and an opinion.


My next book is about the tourism industry, and I’m currently researching another famous travel brand: Thomas Cook. He was definitely a character: a Christian who encouraged the working classes to travel to distract themselves from the temptations of alcohol and tobacco. But he had also worked for a printing firm, and understood the power of the printed word.


In the 19th century, this gave him the kind of advantage that somebody who can write code and manipulate social media has today. «Advertising is to business what steam is to industry», he once wrote. His promotional literature could be misleading. A number of customers booked a steamboat trip in Scotland on the understanding that the price included a cabin. Imagine their surprise when they discovered that the deck was effectively their bed for the night. One of them wrote an angry letter, but it hardly had the power of a comment on Trip Advisor, accessible to millions.


I know that some hoteliers fear Trip Advisor and the impact it can have on their business. Others have a more positive attitude, claiming that it can help them engage with customers and improve their service. It certainly does one thing that can’t be underestimated: it keeps them honest. In that respect, Trip Advisor is not only a brand, it’s a media brand, fuelled by a worldwide network of citizen travel reporters.

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