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ABC 'Nightline'

TripAdvisor: The Getaway Gurus

…And then came the Internet and then suddenly people were not just swapping music but travel advice and – vacation industry has never been the same no better example. Then TripAdvisor, which went from a little start up to a now almost $9 billion business, and to help understand how and why. Nightline welcomes, ABC's Lindsay Janice…

..In recent years this mother of two has become obsessed was taking family vacations, And on every single one TripAdvisor has been her navigator-in-chief . This time Daniel is scouring the reviews of Jamaican resorts –  “ I like to look for people who have done more than one review.” She follows the site’s advice and tosses out the glowing and the gross – to find opinions she can trust…

…We took a trip to Boston, the website’s hometown. First stop – Hotel Commonwealth, rated #1 by TripAdvisor users, meaning it beating out more luxurious hotels. The site is so important to their business that the managers of this hotel monitor TripAdvisor daily, even rewarding and coaching employees based on the reviews. “The employees are aligned to really use TripAdvisor as their main tool to engage the guest experience.”

Next we stopped at Sam LeGrasa’s the top rated Boston restaurant on the site which claims to have the world's number one sandwiches. This family-run business has exploded in popularity, doubling its business in recent years, thanks in large part they say to reviews on TripAdvisor.

Finally we visited the place that’s generating all of these customers, the nerve center of TripAdvisor and meet co-founder and CEO Steve Kaufer, who became an Internet pioneer by making a business out of user-generated content, “TripAdvisor has the information of where all of your friends have been and what they’ve reviewed.”

TripAdvisor recently celebrated its 100 millionth review, with 200 million visitors to the site every month. The company made three-quarters-of-a-billion-dollars in sales last year, mostly by charging a small fee per click on hotel and restaurant websites, where it sends traffic.

Now Kaufer wants to make TripAdvisor a one-stop-shopping destinations where people go not just for reviews, but to book trips and search for the lowest prices. Steve – “We’re indifferent. If a hotel is right for you, great, if a vacation rental is better, have at it. And TripAdvisor has hundreds of thousands to choose from, all around the world.”