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TripAdvisor to become Facebook and Instagram of travel


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TripAdvisor is soon going to acquire a full-fledged social media avatar as good as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and FourSquare. It will create a social media platform for travel and makes restaurant critics, travel experts and influencers of every user. TripAdvisor unveiled a new site and mobile experience launching later this year. Currently in beta, the world’s largest crowd-sourced travel platform is evolving to become the most personalised and connected travel community, inspiring and empowering individuals with social assistive tools to plan and book better with relevant advice and information from people and experts they trust. During a preview event in New York organised for press on Sept 17, a demonstration of the new platform revealed that the new TripAdvisor will be optimised for mobile devices and take heavy cues from Instagram and Facebook.

Beta version of the new look

TripAdvisor has set out an ambitious strategy to transform itself into a social media platform for travelers. Users will be able to create personal profiles where they can post reviews, recommendations, photos and videos of hotels, restaurants, and attractions. While this feature already exists, the update will amp up the social media aspect, with users able to follow friends, influencers and major travel brands. Members will be able to save posts that appear on their travel feed, and, like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, social media validation will be possible with the addition of “Like” buttons. The new TripAdvisor expands its community beyond travellers to also include brands, social media influencers, publishers and friends. Travellers can follow and connect with individuals or content creators who share information that is relevant to their interests.

Complementing our more than 661 million reviews and opinions, TripAdvisor members will be able to create and view inspirational and helpful new forms of content including photos, videos and articles. The new platform is also being pitched as a space for content creation, for sharing content, and as a one-stop shop, where users can book their hotel directly from the site. Members will also have the ability to create “Trips,” which can be in-depth travel guides, itineraries or simple wish lists of things to do while traveling. Trips can be made private and saved for personal use or shared with the community to inspire and help others.  

Powered by the world’s first “travel feed,” TripAdvisor members will also be able to discover more relevant information faster when planning travel. Assisted throughout the entire travel planning process, members can draw advice and inspiration from their friends, family and trusted experts. When a member logs onto the TripAdvisor app or site, their homepage transforms into a personalised feed of information. When searching a particular destination, the feed automatically narrows the scope of the information displayed to that particular geographic location. For example, members planning a trip to Paris may see a food critic’s article on the best restaurant in the city, an influencer’s travel guide of “must-do’s,” and a friend’s review of a new hotel near the Eiffel Tower.

Steve Kaufer, CEO, introduces the new TripAdvisor travel feed on Sept. 17, 2018 in New York 

“TripAdvisor is poised to disrupt the travel industry once again as we create a more personalized and connected community,” said Stephen Kaufer, CEO & co-founder of TripAdvisor. “The new TripAdvisor is the one travel site that brings together social-assistive tools, amazing content and our existing booking capabilities to merge the joy of planning and discovery together into a single experience. We are assisting our members at each step of their journey as we become a more personalised, inspirational and useful TripAdvisor.”

A New, Valuable Audience for Brands and Publishers

While in beta, more than 500 social media influencers, well-known consumer brands, publishers and travel partners have joined the new TripAdvisor — with more being added every day. In addition to the many content creators joining the platform, TripAdvisor’s team of destination experts and TripAdvisor Media Group brands, including Smarter Travel, Cruise Critic and TheFork.com, will also contribute to the site experience through unique profiles. These partners have already started to create hundreds of pieces of inspiring and helpful travel content, grow their followers, and provide valuable feedback to improve the experience.

Members will be able to follow favorite brands like National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel Channel, Business Insider & Insider Guides, PopSugar, Great Big Story, Pandora Music, GoPro, Goop, NYC & Company (via their consumer-facing tourism website, nycgo.com), Nashville Music City, and The Knot, among many others. Members will also be able to follow leading social media influencers like television personality and restaurateur Giada De Laurentiis, as well as travel bloggers, like TravelBabbo.

TripAdvisor’s Impact on Travel and Tourism

TripAdvisor has unveiled its new site and mobile experience at a time when the company’s impact on the travel and tourism industry is massive and growing. Two recent studies show a growing reliance on TripAdvisor during the travel planning, booking (pre-trip and in-destination) and post-trip experience. According to a 2017 Oxford Economics Study, the TripAdvisor platform has influenced $546 billion USD (10.3%) of global tourism spend annually in the travel and hospitality industry as consumers sought our review content as a part of their decision-making process. A 2018 study from comScore found that 60% of people booking travel online went to TripAdvisor during the travel planning and booking process, and a full 74% of travellers used TripAdvisor when booking on hotel websites. The new TripAdvisor site and mobile experience is set to come out of beta and launch globally to the public later this year across all markets and languages where the company operates.

TripAdvisor covers approximately 7.7 million accommodations, airlines, experiences, and restaurants and provides travellers with the wisdom of the crowds to help them decide where to stay, how to fly, what to do and where to eat. TripAdvisor also compares prices from more than 200 hotel booking sites so travellers can find the lowest price on the hotel that’s right for them. TripAdvisor-branded sites are available in 49 markets, and are home to the world’s largest travel community of 456 million average monthly unique visitors, all looking to get the most out of every trip.

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A Den of wilderness

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Its vacation time and also plan some quick trips. Besides regular beach and hill station trips, national parks, especially the tiger reserves are the most preferred ones. For two reasons precisely- it is time to go to tiger reserves before they close for yearly four month monsoon vacation period. Secondly, in this sweltering heat, chances of wildlife sightings around water bodies is more likely.

(Read: Some wild moments in Sariska!)

Outside the main gate of the Tiger reserve, which is very close to Tiger Den

Had done quite a few posts about Sariska Tiger Reserve and places around it of lately. Now it is time to look at places of stay.So here is the review of the place, where we stayed- RTDC’s Tiger Den, located at the Sariska Gate of the Tiger Reserve. I have stayed in these government tourism properties at various places across North and had mixed experiences.

(Also read: Birding in a Tiger reserve)

RTDC hotel Tiger Den at Sariska Tiger Reserve

There can be no denying to the fact that when you are visiting a jungle, you will certainly like to stay at a place closest to the jungle, which can give you real feel of it. Tiger Den is definitely one such place near Sariska Tiger Reserve and National Park. Obviously, when you are there for a jungle trip, least you should expect is any luxury. Tiger Den is a property of Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC). Hence, it has all the pros of a government property and it also has all the cons of a government property. But despite all the cons, I will still always love to stay here, whenever I visit Sariska. Ever since, I went to Sariska for the first time, may be roughly thirty years back, I had dreamt of staying in Sariska Palace, but this time I felt that apart from luxury, Tiger Den is better in all other respects.

Way to reception and lobby area

Biggest positive is the distance. This RTDC hotel is just about 100 metres before the entry gate to the tiger reserve. In this respect, this is the closest place to stay near Tiger Reserve. As with all government properties, they have the best locations and are the most spacious. Hence, being close to jungle means that its wild around and you feel like staying inside the jungle. Peacocks and monkeys are around everywhere to give you some wild company. But this also means that you are discouraged to walk out of the hotel on foot, once its dark outside.

(Want to go around Sariska? Read: Khajuraho of Aravalis: Neelkanth)

Main gate of the hotel complex coming from the jungle

This hotel is also close to the booking office for the safaris inside the park. SO, when you are staying here, you have an added advantage of reaching booking office in less time and thus get early in the queue if you don’t have an online booking. Its helpful mostly for spot booking for early morning safaris, when you need to be as early as 4.30 or 5 in the morning at the queue for a 6 am safari. Being close means, you don’t have to take whole your group to booking office, as just one early riser can go and stand in queue, by the time others get ready.

Hotel has two wings and two floors. Only the front wing has two floors. Back wing has only rooms on ground floor. These rooms have beautiful, big, lush green lawn in their front. Nice place to relax and for young ones to enjoy. These rooms also have balconies.

(Enjoy forts? Read: Kankawari: A fort and a history in deep jungle!)

Biggest con of this property is the general apathy towards maintenance of the property, which is common to perhaps all government tourist properties, barring few exceptions. If at all they give some effort to maintenance, these government run tourist rest houses can give a run for money to all private players. But since that’s not going to happen anyway, so better to keep prepared. Its not messy, but furnitures, beds, cupboards etc seem to have not been refurbished for ages. They need to bring in some professionalism, but honestly speaking it seems very unlikely having heard all the inside stories from the department and within the government.

Divine protection

Food is normally buffet here, with no menu of choice, but it is still good and tasty. I would have preferred some local dishes in the food. But there are non-veg items as well as sweet dishes included in the meal. Best thing is that buffet breakfast and buffet dinner are included in room tariff. That makes it a bit easier to manage daily routines. Otherwise, there are very-very limited options of eating out anywhere nearby. As for day time, you will normally be out visiting nearby places, where you can get food. If in any case, you are still in the hotel during day time, you can order food, for a charge ofcourse. Besides, you can get tea, and other snacks, pakodas etc at any time of the day.

(Looking for some thrill around Sariska? Read: Haunted fort of Bhangarh: Nothing spooky about it!)

Royal settings!

Staff here has been generally helpful and courteous. Two winter nights, when we were here, they arranged separate campfire for us. They were also accommodating in our choice of room, though unfortunately they had limited options in their inventory. Despite that, it was a nice stay overall.

Its so beautiful around, especially in spring time

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