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TripAdvisor acquires journaling app Rove, eyes role as extended travel companion

TripAdvisor is ramping up to become an extended travel companion for its customers and stand out from the growing sector of travel marketers by acquiring journaling mobile application Rove, which enables users to log their movements based on GPS coordinates and other data.

Following Expedia?s recent buyout of Travelocity, more travel brands are engaging in cross-partnerships to augment their awareness among consumers and offer an increasing amount of features to entice new users. TripAdvisor declined to comment on its exact use of Rove, although the acquisition offers more support to the increasingly popular strategy of apps leveraging mobile location-based options to better cater to consumers.

?TripAdvisor?s acquisition of ZeTrip and its Rove app extends the brand throughout the entire customer journey, specifically during and post trip, as well as provides rich customer data and insights,? said Puneet Mehta, CEO of MobileROI, New York. ?TripAdvisor can now see, for instance, if people go to the restaurants, attractions, etc. that they researched and planned pre-trip and allow the brand to better personalize the experience based on actual ? not planned ? behavior.

?The next time a customer is planning a trip on TripAdvisor, she could access personal recommendations based on her personal Rove trip diaries, greatly enhancing the consumer experience and boosting affinity towards the brand.?

Personal journaling
TripAdvisor customers will now have access to Rove?s many features, which include automatic location tracking and the ability to save all recorded photos, curate them, add notes about daily experience in a specific destination and share segments from a lifelog.

Although continued running of GPS functionalities does decrease a smartphone?s battery life, Rove claims to have optimized its algorithm in a way that minimizes battery drain when the user is not moving or traveling in-flight or on the road.

Users will be able to view their travel itineraries as long as the Rove app is running on their mobile devices. Customers that enjoy sharing their travel journey details with their friends and family may do so via the social sharing option within the app.

Shared itineraries may in turn inspire other consumers to visit those locations, which may increase commerce and awareness for specific restaurants or destinations.

Fitting in with TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor has built itself as a service designed for consumers in the planning stages of their travel journeys, but is likely branching out in hopes of becoming a travel companion to customers at all stages. Integrating the Rove app into its repertoire will help extend its lifecycle with customers.

Mobile location-based services are also a strategy that many other social networks and sites are beginning to leverage. These GPS-based capabilities are also positive for advertisers, as they can help marketers pinpoint users? exact locations and send relevant offers to them, similar to the technology that beacons provide.

Social networking app Facebook is also dipping its toes into the beacon pool by rolling out Place Tips, a beacon-supported service that offers users timely information about landmarks and shops to visit in New York (see story). Consumers at a plethora of launch partner locations, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Strand Book Store, will be able to see suggestions for nearby activities or locations at the top of their news feed.

Location-based options could be a smart move for travel marketers, as the ability to connect with consumers at every stage of their travel journeys becomes possible. Mobile device users are increasingly turning to all-in-one travel apps that offer browsing and booking capabilities, suggesting that brands must be cognizant of their customers? needs during the planning, booking and visiting stages in order to stay relevant in a crowded sector (see story).

?The top mobile strategy for travel brands is understanding and acting on customer context,? Mr. Mehta said. ?It?s about providing personal recommendations and tailored information based on an individual?s current needs and situation that reflects historic behavior and preferences.

?For a consumer, the travel journey is often overwhelming. Travel brands that are able to surface the most relevant experience to an individual in real-time will be the ones that capture consumers? attention and loyalty,? he said.

?Furthermore, travel brands will need to start focusing on removing friction from the customer journey. We have seen some airlines start to do this with automatic rebooking, and there are many additional opportunities to modernize and streamline current processes, including loyalty and rewards, upgrades, etc.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York