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Out of Nest, TripAdvisor Soars Past Expedia

Children often outgrow their parents by their teens. TripAdvisor Inc. did it in less than 20 months.

That milestone was crossed after Expedia Inc. executives spent months warning analysts and investors that aggressive marketing tactics from old rivals like Priceline.com Inc. could hurt profits this year.

But a more painful and unexpected sting came last month from an old ally: TripAdvisor, the former subsidiary that still feeds Expedia many of its customers.

A year and a half after being spun off by Expedia and with a newly independent board, TripAdvisor redesigned its website to show shoppers more hotel options right there among its traveler reviews, rather than referring them to sites like Expedia's via pop-up windows, as it had in the past.

Expedia reacted late to the shift, and its sales suffered this spring partly as a result. TripAdvisor, meanwhile, booked its fourth-straight quarter of better-than-expected earnings.

The former subsidiary's success shows how swiftly currents can shift online, where travelers are increasingly planning their trips on sites that aggregate offerings from a number of different online sources...