TripAdvisor: How a Small Online Travel Company Used PR to go Global


TripAdvisor launched and was not gaining the momentum they needed. Red Javelin was hired to re-launch the start-up that at the time had little brand recognition. TripAdvisor was about to jump into the crowded consumer travel market that included well-known brands such as Yahoo, Expedia, Travelocity, and Google. The company desperately needed to increase revenue and awareness for its pay for performance advertising offering. Our first mission was to raise visibility to increase its advertising revenues. After this was accomplished, Red Javelin needed to help consumers understand how they could use the web for trip planning and why this little-known company TripAdvisor could help them do this in one place.


Our Work:

  • Red Javelin created differentiated messaging by packaging TripAdvisor in a niche around travel research and travel planning, changing the way people conducted their travel research using the Internet. At the time, most vendors were focused on booking travel.
  • Used a two-pronged rolling thunder approach, we first targeted advertisers and marketers to compel them to advertise with TripAdvisor and then targeted consumers to inspire them to use TripAdvisor as the only credible, independent resource for vacation planning information.
  • Packaged the company’s unique performance-based marketing story and used news, proactive pitching and bylined articles tell the story in key advertising/marketing and trade travel publications designed to reach key ad agencies and advertisers.
  • Leveraged interesting research studies/statistics on travel topics as well as information gleaned from TripAdvisor’s unique insight into the travel industry to proactively pitch stories that tied to national travel trends for the business, broadcast, consumer and travel media.
  • Targeted the top syndicated newspaper columnists with topics such as favorite family summer attractions, etc.
  • Established thought leadership – TA a resource for media – interesting travel trends based on their travel data (favorite family summer attractions, most popular winter getaways) and relevant to national travel events.



  • Positioned TripAdvisor executives as leading authorities on various topics about travel research and garner national coverage around the company’s new features and survey ideas we helped to create. PR helped solidify the company’s thought leadership.
  • In 2003, Red Javelin embarked on various proactive campaigns to educate the market on using the Internet for trip planning>
  • Feature coverage and industry awards were secured across all types of media including Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, US News & World Report, CBS News Radio, Forbes Best of the Web, Kiplinger’s, PC Magazine, Associated Press, broadcast coverage on stations including WABC (NY), CNNFN, CBS News Radio, and NECN, travel/travel industry press and syndicated columnists including Chris Eliott, Rudy Maxa’s Newsletter, Hotels Magazine, Hotel Interactive and dozens of top daily newspapers around the world including Financial Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  We also secured top awards such as Forbes “Best of the Web”, PC Mag’s Top 100 Sites, Frommer’s Top Sites, among others.
  • TripAdvisor skyrocketed to become the fastest growing travel site worldwide on the web, with an increase of 600% traffic growth and is now a household name. The company was purchased by IAC/InterActiveCorp, which was spun out under the Expedia name.