To the uninitiated, it might be easy to miss the fact that Tripadvisor, with all its click-based advertising, is essentially a media company. Why then did it dispose this week of eight of its Smarter Travel Media brands?
The transaction took place without an official Tripadvisor press release, let alone a financial filing. There will be no countdown to await regulatory approval. That’s because the asset disposal, which involved no employees because they had already been transferred within the company or furloughed, was inconsequential to Tripadvisor’s financial results. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In the deal, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Hopjump, a marketing company offering travel deals, acquired eight of Tripadvisor’s less-well-known travel-oriented media companies, including Smarter Travel, Airfarewatchdog, BookingBuddy, OneTime, Oyster.com, Family Vacation Critic, What To Pack, and Holiday Watchdog.
Tripadvisor is retaining ownership of the Jetsetter brand, which it purchased in 2013 and is now part of its launch of Reco, a personalized travel service that is in beta.
Hopjump, which offers wholesale rates to travelers and has a subscription service, will use the assets as the foundation for its next stage of growth, said its president, Jordan Staab. A spokeswoman said the startup could hire furloughed Tripadvisor employees, as needed.
By the end of 2019, Tripadvisor’s media business — excluding its core click-based hotel auction — was relatively small. For its quarterly financial results, Tripadvisor lumps its media business into a segment called “Other,” which also includes rentals, flights, cruises, cars and Tripadvisor China. In 2019, the entire Other category generated only 10.5 and 12.5 percent of revenue and adjusted earnings, respectively.
In years’ past, Tripadvisor tried to diversify from click-based advertising toward becoming itself into a hotel booking site, but abandoned that effort for the most part. Now, the company is intent on exploring opportunities in business-to-business and other advertising opportunities to supplement its core hotel business.
Its collection of Smarter Travelers Media brands, most of them anyway, had became largely superfluous.
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