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TripAdvisor Buys Where I’ve Been

TripAdvisor & Where I've Been LogosTripAdvisor has revealed that it has bought the Where I’ve Been travel website and social platform business, which is based in Chicago. The travel agent doesn’t intend to disclose any of the details about the financial terms of the purchase, but it noted that all of the Where I’ve Been staff will be joining it. The deal follows an announcement from Expedia in April that it will be spinning off TripAdvisor in an initial public offering (IPO).

Where I’ve Been allows people who use its social network application, which is available on Facebook, the chance to track where they have lived, travelled and want to visit. Users can also upload photos and stories, as well as access a network to talk about travel topics. Its application on Facebook allows 10 million people to create travel maps that are color-coded, which has pinned off about half a billion destinations. Members can search for answers to questions about travel as well, and even browse the ‘Travel Guide,’ which shows socially relevant information first.

This new acquisition for TripAdvisor comes after the travel company took over EveryTrail in February. This business makes a GPS-enabled platform which can be used for creating city guides and outdoor tours for mobile devices. However, the company has a history of growing by acquiring other businesses, including the purchases of Smarter Travel Media, SeatGuru.com, TravelPod.com and Travel-Library.com in 2007.

Meanwhile, TripAdvisor has warned that hotels around the world are giving bribes to guests. If they write a great review about the hotel on its site, then the guests are promised a reduction to their room and meal costs or out right cash. There are 45 million reviews for over 500,000 destinations on the website, making it a popular stop for holidaymakers who want an honest opinion about hotels. However, the travel agent has already blacklisted 30 properties for suspicious reviews.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has said that it will investigate if regulations have been broken. One venue that could face an inquiry about breaching TripAdvisor’s review rules is Cove Hotel in Cornwall. It has been accused of giving guests a letter from Lee Magner, the owner, suggesting they join the ‘Friends of the Cove’ programme. If they do, they are offered 10% off food and drink, as well as a free upgrade.

However, the guests have to post an honest but positive review on the website; or recommend the hotel to the Michelin Guide and Good Food Guide – 2 leading restaurant guides. Their member’s card will be activated as soon as their comment goes live in either of the places, according to the Cove Hotel website.

TripAdvisor sokeswoman Emma O’Boyle says that owners can encourage guests to submit user review when they return home from their holiday, but it’s against their reviewing rules to offer upgrades, discounts and other incentives. They take serious steps in penalising companies caught trying to manipulate the system, she added.

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