TripAdvisor, the popular travel site helping people plan their trips, launched the “friend of a friend” tool, deepening the link between the site and social network Facebook and hoping to transform holiday planning into a more personalized experience.
When searching for a certain tourist attraction, hotel or tourist destination, each visitor will first see reviews of friends and those of friends of friends ahead of those of generic TripAdvisor users.Â
“Travel advice from friends is incredibly useful, but your inner circle may not have all the answers on a particular hotel or destination you are researching,” said Adam Medros, vice president of global product for TripAdvisor.“The Friend of a Friend feature increases the probability of an even greater personalised TripAdvisor experience by highlighting opinions from a larger network of travellers that know the people you trust.”
This new feature is available once you’ve signed up with your Facebook account — the option is available on the top page of TripAdvisor. Once logged in, you’ll see available reviews, check ins and likes from Facebook friends and their friends. However, their identities are not revealed. You can also ask for anyone in the network for some tips or help via a private messages.
Users can also adjust their privacy settings on Facebook to limit what their Facebook friends can see on TripAdvisor.
This deeper integration with Facebook seems like a natural step for TripAdvisor, a website used by many people wanting to plan a trip/holiday and searching for the best deals as there were several rather recent scandals regarding the reviews it publishes and how trustworthy they are. Theoretically one trusts their friends and could assume friends of a friend are also a relatively serious source. But we have to remember that Facebook is a social network where people connect with other people without being necessarily good friends — or, sometimes, even without knowing them personally. I cannot imagine any Facebook users would guarantee in any way for all of their connections on the social network.
Also, given the fact that one can choose what others see on TripAdvisor, limit the “trust factor”, as someone might have posted a negative review but opted for that review not to be available for friends. So a friend might not see that review and go in a place praised by others, but rated negatively by a friend. It is also possible people would refrain from writing or hide bad reviews just not to offend other friends who have been to the same destination and have enjoyed it.
Either way, seeing what your circle of social connections thinks first is definitely better than reading fabricated reviews posted by marketing teams that give in to the dark side of promoting a travel destination.