The year 2000 doesn’t seem so long ago. It’s when the first USB flash drive came out. It’s when the International Space Station opened. It’s when the Prius was introduced in the U.S. And it’s when TripAdvisor was founded—15 years ago today, in a small office above a pizza shop in Needham, Massachusetts.
And yet that was so long ago—because so much has changed since then. Today TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site. Trying to remember travel planning before TripAdvisor is like trying to remember life before Post-It Notes, or car GPS navigation systems, or email.
Remember when we had to base our travel decisions on input from just a handful of people? When the only travel reviews were from guidebook writers, travel agents, and your aunt who went to Paris five years ago? Today we base our decisions on reviews posted by millions of our fellow travelers, including dozens who were there just last week or even yesterday.
Today we’re empowered. We can plan our trips with the latest, freshest intel. If we’ve got questions, we can get answers in the forums. If we need answers on the road, we can get them via the world’s most popular travel app.
TripAdvisor has changed not only how we travel but also how travel providers operate. TripAdvisor reviews hold hotel managers accountable to their customers. Great reviews are critical to a hotel’s success. And it’s how we learn about all those wonderful little hotels we’d never know about otherwise; when we search destinations in TripAdvisor, the lesser-known gems rise to the top.
TripAdvisor has changed the field of travel journalism, too. Fifteen years ago, I was working for an iconic glossy travel magazine, writing my advice column The Perrin Report. There were only a few travel-magazine columnists. Now that I’m at TripAdvisor, there are fewer. Instead, today we’ve got thousands of citizen journalists from around the globe sharing travel advice. At TripAdvisor we call them Top Contributors. And the lead time for getting answers to your questions has changed from three months (for a magazine columnist) to three minutes (for a contributor posting to a forum).
Citizen journalists may not have the expertise of columnists, but they may well have the answers you need. They might even live at the destination you’re headed to. And, when you can’t find that one answer you’re searching for, I’m always here to help—via the “Ask Wendy” button on this blog. At TripAdvisor today, you’ll find it all.
So please join me in wishing TripAdvisor a happy 15th anniversary. And tell me: How has it changed how you travel?
You can read more from Wendy at WendyPerrin.com.