21 Nov 2013

TripAdvisor Scores Deep Bing Integration, Launches Windows 8.1 App

TripAdvisor puts a nice notch in its belt today with a Bing integration deal that places its results front and center on search results pages. The deal marks the first time that TripAdvisor has lent its Metasearch data, gathered from over 125M reviews across 3.1M locations, to a search engine.

In conjunction with the new Bing integration, TripAdvisor is also launching a new Windows 8.1 app that allows Hotel Price Comparison (what it calls Metasearch), a touch-based interface and dynamic maps that populate rooms, places to see and eat in real time.

The Bing integration is by far the biggest deal for TripAdvisor here, and fits in with its overall efforts to leverage its Metasearch data beyond just its own site. If you’ve seen Bing’s sidebar content before, then you’ll be roughly familiar with how the TripAdvisor data will be presented. If you search for a hotel name and city, for instance, you’re presented with a map of its location and an address and contact details. That’s all fairly standard for Bing. But now, below that, you’ll also get ‘reservations’ and ‘reviews’ sections powered by TripAdvisor. You can blast in dates and smack the ‘find rate’ button to be delivered booking options from the options that TripAdvisor indexes.

The Metasearch infrastructure, which is used by the new Bing integration, was a ‘major undertaking’ for TripAdvisor, involving integrating over 100 different APIs from travel data sources and many partnership deals. Currently, TripAdvisor also powers Yahoo Travel’s hotel search, but the Bing deal will be the first straight up search engine deal. TripAdvisor is also building out a platform that allows independent venues like B&B’s, the incredibly long tail of fragmented inventory that doesn’t have its own APIs, to participate in its Metasearch program.

“At this point, we’ve partnered with over 260 Internet booking engines, or IBEs, representing approximately 200,000 independent properties,” Kaufer said during its Q3 earnings call. “Over 70 IBEs have completed the integration which, as of last week, allows more than 40,000 hoteliers to sign up and start bidding for leads.”

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