September 21, 2012

TripAdvisor wants to go deep on mobile

While TripAdvisor first looked at building a mobile app that “didn’t suck,” it’s now looking at how deep it can go with mobile apps by taking advantage of all the capabilities of mobile devices. Like offering more ways for users to record their travels in journals, and getting real-time recommendations while on a trip.

The challenge for many web companies looking to go mobile is how to replicate features found on their desktop sites while still taking advantage of mobile’s unique traits. TripAdvisor has found a happy medium, building a hybrid TripAdvisor app that combines web data with a native wrapper while focusing completely on native mobile development with its City Guides app.

Adam Medros, VP of Global Product, TripAdvisor said the company’s primary app reproduces many of the main features of the desktop service and was easier for them to create. But the app is also less responsive than a dedicated native app.

But with its TripAdvisor City Guides apps, which covers 50 cities and provides downloadable data, TripAdvisor has the ability to provide a true mobile-first experience that has both a lot of features and is snappy, he said. That has translated into a lot more engagement. Users of the City Guides app click through 50 pages on average per session, compared to about 30 for the main app. The City Guides app uses a lot of dedicated mobile features such as guided tours, a nearby business finder and a Point Me There tool that acts like a walking turn-by-turn navigation service.

Get the full story at GigaOM