• TripAdvisor bites into food

TripAdvisor has signed an agreement with Delivery.com to bolster its food delivery business for users.

The platform released a survey claiming that consumers favoured TripAdvisor over Google, Facebook and Yelp when choosing a restaurant.

The agreement followed last year’s deals with Grubhub and Deliveroo.

TripAdvisor users browsing restaurant listings in the US now have the option to order food from  Delivery.com 12,000 restaurant partners by simply clicking the ‘Order Online’ button. Both parties said that the terms of the agreement would not be disclosed.

“With millions of hungry diners coming to TripAdvisor each month, we are constantly striving to make it as easy as possible for them to find and eat the perfect meal – whether at home or on-the-go,” said Evan Becker, head of restaurant commerce, TripAdvisor. “We’re excited to partner with Delivery.com to provide TripAdvisor users with even more online food delivery options.”

CVENT’s Influences of Diner Decision-Making Survey, which analysed the dining behaviour of more than 9,500 consumers across key markets in the US and Europe, revealed that TripAdvisor was overwhelmingly regarded as the most influential online dining resource compared to Google, Facebook and Yelp.

The report showed that more than 78% of US respondents said they preferred using TripAdvisor over Yelp (41%), Google (28%) and Facebook (12%) to pick a restaurant while at home, while 93% say they turn to the site for recommendations while traveling.

Some 90% of US and 87% of UK respondents said TripAdvisor had inspired them to try a new establishment, and 90% of US and 85% of UK consumers say TripAdvisor rankings, reviews, ratings or awards have persuaded them to make certain selections.

TripAdvisor was also viewed as having more accurate, trustworthy, helpful and descriptive restaurant reviews and photos by 94% of those surveyed in the US. Just 45% of respondents reported that Yelp reviews accurately matched the experience they had while dining out, followed by 31% of Google reviews and 18% of Facebook reviews.

Tripadvisor said: “Diners are exhibiting behaviours that align with the ‘one-stop-shop’ restaurant experience that is inherent within TripAdvisor’s mobile platform. With more than 450 million downloads of TripAdvisor’s app globally, millions of consumers are actively researching in-destination experiences on mobile devices.”

In line with this trend, survey results revealed that diners were increasingly turning to their mobile devices to find restaurants while on-the-go, with up to 79% of respondents in some markets reporting that they regularly research restaurants nearby via their phones.

Additionally, the majority of respondents reported a desire to make reservations online and order food delivery both at home and while travelling. TripAdvisor said that it had over 245,000 reservable restaurants and over 65,000 restaurants with food delivery available on the platform.

At the company’s most-recent earnings presentation, CEO Steve Kaufer said: “Part of our differentiation and part of the awareness of TripAdvisor in the travel ecosystem is the fact that we have much more than just hotels.”

TripAdvisor has not been alone in exploring the food delivery business. signed a deal with Choice Hotels, to offer “a room service-like experience” to its loyalty programme members.

Jamie Russo, vice president of loyalty programmes and customer engagement for Choice Hotels, said: “Our collaboration with delivery.com makes even more parts of the travel journey rewarding, while also providing the faster pay off and better perks that already come with Choice Privileges membership. Working with delivery.com provides Choice Privileges members with convenient, personalised services and the added bonus of loyalty points when using the service – a great option, particularly for our busy, on-the-go guests.”

InternContinental Hotels also looked to offer food delivery as a loyalty perk, announcing a deal with Grubhub at the end of last year.

Liz Crisafi, head of loyalty, partnerships and portfolio marketing, The Americas, IHG, said: “Our members have told us that they want more ways to earn points while dining, and this innovative programme with Grubhub is an easy way to get rewarded for ordering delivery to their hotel roomThis new benefit now gives our members the ability to create an even better food and beverage experience and represents another great way we are evolving IHG Rewards Club to meet their needs throughout the entire travel process.”

Members earned 500 IHG Rewards Club points the first time they order via IHG channels with Grubhub and 250 IHG Rewards Club points for each subsequent Grubhub transaction via IHG channels. To earn points for Grubhub, members must order or book through IHG channels.

HA Perspective [by Katherine Doggrell]: As attendees of the Hotel Operations Conference, hosted by Hotel Analyst, can confirm, food delivery is an area where hotels have started to consider the financial benefits of offering guests food they might actually want to eat, with Deliveroo’s Alberto Lo Bue telling delegates that the company’s move into hotels was driven by guests using the service regardless of its being offered officially. But now they can get their food nattily presented.

Roll in the option to make it a feature of a loyalty programme – and that’s always an option with any new trend before it becomes standard – and hotels are getting into the food delivery business, at least on the receiving end (there are rare instances of food leaving the kitchens and making it further than the dining room).

For hotels it’s currently just an add-on, for TripAdvisor, the need to offer something extra is a little more pressing as the company continues to flail between metasearch, Instant Book and any other possible permutation of hotels plus as it looks to justify its share price. What those close to Hotel Analyst suggest is that the potential for a sale is what is holding it above water on the stock market. To whom? Google as a travel brand? The clock is surely ticking.

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