Facebook Will Buy TripAdvisor

The title for this blog might be seen as clickbait to some, but I strongly believe that Facebook will buy TripAdvisor. Why? Well, lots of reasons. I think it is extremely likely that Facebook’s ever-expanding portfolio of digital services and brands will lead it towards purchasing a large tourism-focused business within the next five years — and TripAdvisor would be the perfect choice.

Why would Facebook buy TripAdvisor?

To answer this question fully, let’s look at what is happening in China, specifically with WeChat. For those of you who don’t know, WeChat is China’s most popular app for gaming, money transfers, video calls, ordering food, reading the news, booking doctors appointment, etc. It’s basically China’s version of Facebook, but with lots more functionality.

“WeChat’s reach and influence is unrivaled in China’s online space,” said research firm China Skinny. “It touches everything from consumers communicating with their nearest and dearest, to sharing their most special moments, to buying everything from cinema tickets to taxi rides, flights and tours.”

WeChat has approx 938 million users and is ranked fifth in the world below Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, YouTube and Facebook itself. Facebook will be well aware of this and will want to keep it’s domination across the rest of the world.

Facebook has over 2 billion active users, so WeChat has some ground to make up, but things can change quickly in any digital industry — especially in the digital tourism industry. We have already seen TripAdvisor purchase Viator and Bokün, AirBNB begin offering tourism activities, and Google launch Touring Bird. There is a lot of money to be made in the tours and activities sector and I think Facebook’s analysts will have noticed this!

What might a Facebook-TripAdvisor partnership look like?

Facebook has already a clear interest in tours and activities with its City Guides and it’s AI technology for virtual guides called FAIR (Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research). It is trying to figure out how to use the wealth of information it has at its fingertips. Imagine, TripAdvisor reviews fully-integrated (there is already some integration) with Facebook and the ability to book directly within the platform. Allowing users to write reviews and publish photos and video that they have already uploaded during their time at a destination.

Read rest of the article at TMA