Tripadvisor Takes the Guesswork Out of Personalization

Skift Take

Personalization efforts in the travel industry can be way off track. Tripadvisor is supplementing those efforts in a direct way — asking potential customers what they are looking for.

While many travel companies fret over delivering personalized recommendations to potential or existing customers through artificial intelligence and other technologies, Tripadvisor is supplementing those efforts the old-fashioned way — by emailing a quiz.

Since using Tripadvisor eight days ago to research tour and activities options in Reykjavik, Iceland, I’ve literally received 10 unsolicited emails from the company with subject lines ranging from “Continue planning for Reykjavik” to “An iconic Reykjavik experience for you.” The torrent of emails, frankly, has been annoying, if not unusual as many companies do this.

The latest email popped in this morning, prompting me to take the bait — “4 questions, 40 seconds,” it promised — to obtain personalized things to do in Iceland. It didn’t turn out badly, at all.

I answered: 1) “Nope,” it is not my first visit to Iceland; 2) I’ll be traveling with friends; 3) I’m seeking an “action-packed” trip, and 4) I’m most interested in “the great outdoors.”

Tripadvisor immediately recommended that I snowmobile the Langjökull Glacier, take a mountain helicopter tour, embark on a two-hour ATV adventure, or reserve a Golden Circle super-Jeep tour with snowmobiling.

I then cheated and retook the quiz, opting this time for “laid back” outdoor adventures. This time Tripadvisor recommended a Lava Tunnel tour, Silfra drysuit snorkeling, a glacier hike, and a Northern Lights cruise.

Each recommendation had a link to the particular activity among “things to do” on Tripadvisor — interestingly not on sister brand Viator — and there was the option to view more things to do beyond the four recommendations.

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Undoubtably Tripadvisor will use the quiz answers to give me recommendations in the future, although perhaps I screwed things up by taking the quiz twice and providing different answers.

But at least the Tripadvisor quiz produced for me relevant tours and activities — unlike many other travel company recommendations, and tweets that Twitter recommends for me that I find personally abhorrent.

Alas, Tripadvisor’s quizzes are a smart way to bolster personalization within the context of other more tech-enhanced efforts.

Sure, the Tripadvisor quiz wasn’t unique. While I was writing this story about the Tripadvisor quiz, I received a Skift Research survey for subscribers, asking me to take a six-minute survey to “help us understand what you want to see more of.” 

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