TripAdvisor: Selling the product no one wants

Wilde Agency

Entry Information

Country where program ran: USA, plus 14 other countries in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Latin America and South Africa
Program start date: 08/08/12
Program end date: 09/08/12
Advertiser/Client Name: TripAdvisor
Product/Service Description: TripAdvisor.com is the world's largest travel website, helping visitors gather hotel information and other travel-related content. A hotel's page on TripAdvisor is free. HOWEVER, to include the hotel's email, url and phone number on the page, the hotelier must PURCHASE a "business listing."
Category: Travel & Hospitality/Transportation (THT)

Strategy

Business problem

How do you sell something your target believes should be FREE??!! Pages about hotels on TripAdvisor.com are free. They have traveler reviews and descriptions. But they cannot include the hotel's direct contact information (email, phone number, url). To do that, the hotelier must BUY a "Business Listing," the exact price of which is based on how many rooms they have (and revealed only when they call/go online). Hoteliers do not want to pay, and feel potential guests can always look up the hotel's contact information. Or book through a service like Expedia. Even worse, some hoteliers DO NOT EVEN KNOW they have a TripAdvisor page (a guest may have posted it). The problem? How to convince hoteliers it'd be beneficial to buy a "Business Listing," adding their direct contact information. Most had already SAID "NO" before, and therefore ignored subsequent solicitations. And 2012's bad economy meant budgets for such things were even smaller.