TripAdvisor, the online travel portal that relies heavily on user-generated reviews and content, is looking to become a major player in restaurant booking.
The travel site, founded in 2000 by Stephen Kaufer and Langley Steinert and acquired by IAC in 2005, is known for its user reviews of tourist attractions, hotels, and restaurants. Hotel reservations have been TripAdvisor's bread and butter, according to this article from Skift, but the company has reached aggressively into restaurant booking in Europe recently, and is looking to continue to expand.
Currently, over half of TripAdvisor's revenue derives from Expedia and Priceline, the online travel booking sites, according to Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Markets. On the company's Q1 earnings call Wednesday, CEO Kaufer indicated a need to diversify: "In general, we do see more growth on the non-hotel side," he stated. "...I would project that to continue into the future as we're big in restaurants and restaurants is often a very local use case on the phone. We would expect that to continue to grow, and for obvious reasons, much faster than hotel."
TripAdvisor CFO Julie Bradley noted the "huge market opportunity" with restaurants. Kaufer then added: "...in restaurants, it is a very local product. And, there tends to be a winner-take-all or close to it in a given city. Because if you get enough restaurants and you have enough user demand and enough app installs, that's very habit-forming."
TripAdvisor has been highly aggressive in its acquisitions of restaurant-related websites. In the first quarter of 2015 alone, it purchased four restaurant booking services: lens.nl, MyTable, RestOpolis, and SeatMe Amsterdam. Last year, TripAdvisor acquired thefork.com, a restaurant booking site for France, Spain, Sweden, and several other European countries.