TripAdvisor teams with Choice for booking app

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TripAdvisor, which is looking to generate more revenue and advertising via online transactions, last month debuted a feature that enables consumers to book travel on their mobile devices through the company's website.

The booking feature, available in the U.S., enables travelers to use TripAdvisor to book travel through Choice Hotels International, hotel-booking site GetaRoom.com and TripAdvisor's discount hotel-booking online travel agency, Tingo.

Company spokesman Kevin Carter said TripAdvisor would have a "gradual rollout" of both more companies and more countries later this year.

By 2015, U.S. travel bookings via mobile devices are expected to have jumped more than fivefold since 2012, to about $39.5 billion, according to PhoCusWright.

TripAdvisor is addressing this uptick in bookings on devices whose smaller screen size makes reading reviews and shopping for deals via multiple websites more difficult than it is on a laptop or desktop computer.

With the new app, consumers can page through user reviews and, having once decided on a trip, book a reservation through participating hotel partners without leaving TripAdvisor's site.

In a June 11 statement, TripAdvisor Senior Vice President Adam Medros said, "Instant booking not only provides a more efficient hotel booking experience for travelers but benefits our hotel and online travel agency partners with the potential for more bookings and improved downstream conversion."

With mobile-booking capabilities, TripAdvisor is hoping to accelerate growth in annual revenue well past the $1 billion mark by jumping into the transactional market currently dominated by suppliers and online travel agencies such as its former parent, Expedia.

TripAdvisor entered the transactional market in early May when it started enabling visitors to book rooms with Choice brands without leaving the TripAdvisor site.

Atmosphere Research Group travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt called the transactional services "a logical extension" for TripAdvisor.

"Since hotel rooms can sometimes be last-minute, opportunistic purchases, having a mobile-booking tool enables TripAdvisor to serve a large number of consumers," Harteveldt said.

Mobile and direct transactions are just the latest areas where TripAdvisor is attempting to capitalize on higher travel spending by broadening its reach.

Last month, the company announced that it was developing a three-hour, online "reputation management course" in conjunction with the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

TripAdvisor diversified further last month by acquiring Lafourchette, which runs restaurant-reservation booking sites in Western Europe; London-based online travel-community Tripbod; and Massachusetts-based Vacation Home Rentals.

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