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5 Secrets About The Power Of User Data From TripAdvisor’s CMO

“Whenever you see a successful woman, look out for three men who are going out of their way to try to block her.” –Yulia Tymoshenko

I don’t know how many men are trying hard to block Barbara Messing, Chief Marketing Officer of TripAdvisor, but I know they will never have any luck in slowing her down. Barbara Messing is tough enough to not be beaten up!

Barbara Messing is leading the global marketing efforts as TripAdvisor continues to expand its global footprint as the world’s largest travel site. She is also leading all consumer marketing activities at the company, including brand development and experience, customer relationship marketing, public relations, search engine marketing, etc. Prior to joining TripAdvisor, Barbara spent nine years at Hotwire, where she served in a number of leadership roles, most recently serving as vice president and general manager of Travel Ticker. She also served in roles including vice president of customer experience and director of product development. In 2011, Adweek named Barbara as a “Brand Genius”.

Here are six secrets we learned from Barbara’s talk “The Power of User Data to Build a Travel Brand”:

#Secret 1

It seems hard to believe that the only other review website around 14 years ago was Amazon for books. In the earlier days, a chunk of hotels presented TripAdvisor but I think hoteliers have found that TripAdvisor is as helpful for them as for consumers. They use it for feedback on how they’re doing. Some hotels have daily meetings where they review their TripAdvisor reviews. They realize that some of the things consumers don’t like about their hotels are improvable.

#Secret 2

We ask ourselves how do we get folks the content that’s relevant for them in front of them. We partnered with Facebook, so if you have a friend or a friend of a friend who has stayed at a hotel, you will see those reviews first. We also let you sort by couples, family travel, and singles. The last things we’ve introduced are tags so you can personalize your search results including boutique, pool, free Wi-Fi, etc. We don’t believe that it’s our role to curate for our travelers. You can’t curate to the world.

#Secret 3

On the content marketing side, we are very lucky because we are a user-generated content brand. Our community creates the content for us. Our job is to package the most interesting insights.

#Secret 4

At the top of our list is the validity of our traveler reviews and the ability for consumers to leave their opinions. There would never be a case where TripAdvisor would bias reviews towards properties that we have commercial relationships with.

#Secret 5

Our strategy will always be about making sure that consumers have the best access to information and choice.

From $4 million invested to over $4 billion in value, TripAdvisor has been proving for smartly and strategically building and using database into business. Share your comments with us.