online travel portal Expedia.com has launched TripAdvisor.in, the Indian version of its travel community site, TripAdvisor.com.
The site enables users to read and write reviews about travel destinations and hotels, share photos, upload videos and participate in travel forum. Based on the reviews of the users, the site provides ratings to travel destinations and hotels.
TripAdvisor.in plans to launch India-centric widgets or applications, which will be available on social networking sites such as Orkut.com and Facebook.com. It already runs an interactive application, Cities I've Visited, on Facebook.com. The application has 15,78,641 active users per month and allows users to mark all the cities, suburbs and countries they have visited on a world map.
In order to build its brand and promote usage in India, TripAdvisor.in will mainly use Internet marketing. Dhall says, "We will rely aggressively on search marketing and word of mouth." There are no plans to use traditional media as of now. Dhall refused to divulge any information about the marketing budget for the site.
As for the business model, the company plans to earn most of its revenue through text and display advertisements on its site. Interestingly, Expedia, the parent company of TripAdvisor.in, which competes with various travel sites based in India, is keeping TripAdvisor.in as an independent entity. It is ready to provide travel related content to any travel portal in India. It has already tied up with Cleartrip.com and it will provide content on rating and reviewing hotels in India and 140 countries.
Dhall adds, "We have no issues in providing content to other travel sites. We are talking to other travel sites in India, and globally, we have a similar tieup with Travelocity.com, a US based travel portal." He further adds, "We are not looking at content syndication as a main source of revenue. It is merely a part of building and expanding our brand."
In March 2008, Expedia.com launched the Indian version of its travel portal, called Expedia.co.in. TripAdvisor.com has already launched its local versions in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Germany and France.