Phocuswright 2022: Tripadvisor must 'reinforce relevancy', says boss Matt Goldberg

Phocuswright 2022: Tripadvisor must 'reinforce relevancy', says boss Matt Goldberg

The reviews giant is working on its vision for what a travel guide for the next century looks like, the annual conference was told

TripAdvisor will undertake a review of its Plus membership model to make sure it is more relevant and engaging to its subscribers.

New boss Matt Goldberg told last week’s Phocuswright conference in Phoenix, Arizona, that it is “a little bit jarring” that people sign up and “we start charging straight away”.

He said, just 100 days in to his tenure as chief executive, the reviews giant was currently in a “messy middle” in terms of areas it wanted to focus on for the future.

However, Goldberg said the firm did want to make more use of data to be more engaging to users and explore new forms of content like short-form video to appeal to younger generations.

“We have an opportunity to really reinforce our relevancy,” he said. “I think we have done some really good things in the past…but we can enhance what we think about content.”

Goldberg said while the beautiful thing about the Tripadvisor was the scalable content model “maybe it did not progress enough”.

“We think about putting the customer at the heart of everything we do…through new forms of content and being even more immersive.

“And we think that wherever the traveller is that’s a mobile-first future. At the heart the audience that trusts Tripadvisor is the passionate traveller. 

“It’s the traveller thinking about this decision I’m about to make is a really important one, there’s a certain risk, I’m spending a lot of money on it and it’s important.

“They want to validate it and find something they like and be really confident that it is going to happen.”

Goldberg described Tripadvisor as a “David in the category” as opposed to a Titan and said it is working on what a travel guide company for the next century looks like.

In a recent third quarter trading update he said the firm could do better with its consumer-facing products and services, like Plus.

Goldberg said he wanted to assess what is liked about Plus and what could be different rather than taking an immediate decision to shut it down.

“We are thinking about broadening the aperture,” he said, “putting the customer first, being product led. How do we connect with customers in a more engaging way. 

“It used to be one size fits all. But there are multiple paths to why someone would become a member of Tripadvisor.

“It is a little bit jarring that you become a member and we start charging straight away. We could have a more meaningful path what could be membership economics.”

Meta and media will continue to be growth areas for monetisation of Tripadvisor, said Goldberg, who added it wants to be a “better match” between the demand and supply side.

Core to this will be data and how Tripadvisor can use the wealth of insight it has into traveller intent.

Tripadvisor is “on a journey to put a foundation in place” to make better decisions about future products, martech and media by making signals of intent “far more useful”.

Goldberg said the firm will “start to leverage that in the first part of the new year”.