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Develop a Review Website like TripAdvisor? Know the Cost and Features

07 Mar

Many businesses would love to build websites that work and function like TripAdvisor, but what does it take to do so? A website developer may be there to do the coding and build the website, but there are other things you have to evaluate and see how the TripAdvisor business models work to your favor.

Vacations are indulgences that people want to get correct in the first place. After many years of savings for that dream vacation of the Bahamas or another destination, you don’t want to experience your worst nightmare as you encounter poor hotel services, delays, and other unwanted experiences. When you are set for a trip you need to ensure that you have the comfort, convenience, and value for your money.

Most vacations begin with planning like booking accommodation and making ticket reservations. A traveler uses aggregators to search for the best deals for hotels, flights, and trips. The second most essential thing that travelers consider after the pricing is online reviews. People today trust their peers in social media comments or other posts they place online. It’s estimated that 93 percent of hoteliers regard reviews posted online as some of the influential things for doing business with a company in the future. Other things that travelers look at are the proximity to photos, location, and attractions.

One of the popular review directories in the travel industry is TripAdvisor. It has gained authority since give their opinionated comments regarding the experiences they have had when they visited different spots like hotels, attractions, shopping malls, galleries, museums, and the like. Accommodating in excess of 600 million reviews featured in 28 languages, TripAdvisor has become a kingpin in helping customers make their informed decision before they can travel. But is it possible to replicate that kind of service and success that comes from TripAdvisor’s website?

Many businesses would love to use that model or a similar one to help in enhancing customer experiences by gathering reviews and comments from customers.

TripAdvisor offers important information like hours of operations, reviews, locations, and other things. Being an extensive travel review directory, it’s the go-to website for people looking for more information about destinations, hotels, restaurants, attractions, and other tourist products. If you want to have a business model like that of TripAdvisor, you need to evaluate the possibilities, the challenges, and how it can work for your case.

TripAdvisor Business Model

TripAdvisor business model is an important aspect you should look at when you want to have a replica or rivalry business or directory like TripAdvisor. The essence of the business model of TripAdvisor is to help match individuals searching for a great travel experience with the providers of travel services like restaurants, hotels, OTAs, and airlines. On the flip side, TripAdvisor is able to help travel entrepreneurs to draw more traffic and increase sales while cutting back on costs and time. It doesn’t take a lot of time to have your business registered with TripAdvisor and begin promoting.

A 2017 TripAdvisor Restaurant Marketing Report indicated that restaurant owners were spending less than 10 percent of their precious time marketing. TripAdvisor would be of great help to businesses because it helps in marketing.

In addition, TripAdvisor offers travelers across the world an easy and convenient way to access the most trusted pool of reviews within the travel and hospitality sectors. About 74 percent of travelers, at their will, take their time to write reviews to be posted on the site to help other travelers. TripAdvisor has built a community of travelers and other travel clients where they share their ideas and suggestion and help each other choosing the preferred services and products. This way, travelers can avoid making mistakes or having bad experiences.

There are over 7.5 million places for travelers to stay, places for people to each, and spots with things to do for travelers. With over 2 million listings of Inns, B&Bs, hotels, and specialty lodging, you can see why TripAdvisor is an industry leader.

TripAdvisor has different monetization methods in its business model including subscription, transactions, and advertising. Travel businesses can have subscriptions allowing them to promote their products and services and boost their business profiles. For example, they can have a storyboard of presentations and videos on the site.

Also, TripAdvisor allows brands to place sponsored ads and banners within the top-viewed placements on the site whereby the directory takes fees using schemes such as cost-per-impression and cost-per-click. The directory has a targeting mechanism it uses to identify the most qualified users that may be interested in a particular ad. Besides, travelers can book instantly from TripAdvisor and the company takes commissions for the paid booking in partner hotels, OTA, and Restaurants.

The Uphills in Making a Site Like TripAdvisor

Before you can hire web developers to build you a replica website to TripAdvisor, you need to understand the challenges that come with review sites.

There are many challenges you will face if you were to create a website like TripAdvisor and it’s important that you know them so that you make your judgment on how to maneuver the hurdles. Security, seasonality, competition, personalization, fraud, and security are the challenges you are likely to facing in building and setting a website like TripAdvisor.

In online businesses, the protection of personal information, as well as transactions, is very important.

Businesses are required to ensure that they protect the information they garner from their customers, otherwise, if breaches occur, they risk being sued and fined. If you are going to have a website like TripAdvisor you need to install confidence among the users by ensuring the confidentiality of their information. Even when you have all the security measures put in place on your side like tokenization and encryption, there still imminent risks because you may not guarantee that the third parties and affiliates you are connected with in your network have such security measures in place or they have best security practices.

In 2018, a test of password, as well as account security done on 55 travel-related sites, found out that 89 percent of websites haven’t put measures to prope4rly protect their user accounts and passwords and among them were Expedia, Hotels.com, and TripAdvisor. Today’s travelers seek exclusive and explorative experiences and the general recommendations they get from websites may not offer them the satisfaction they need. With 83 percent of Millennials saying they are willing to allow websites of travel brands to track their online behaviors, it would help in offering personalized experiences.

TripAdvisor has tried to make its services personalized by considering the interests of its users. Among the new features are the individualized, social, and inspirational trip itineraries where the users can follow their travel experts and friends they like and pin restaurants they like or have alerts delivered on their smartphones when they are near a pinned restaurant, attraction, or hotel. What this means is that you will need to take personalization into account when designing a website like TripAdvisor something that requires a lot of input and investment.

The travel industry presents a lot of competition, so if you are going to step in you have to prepare for that challenge. There are many global OTAs like Expedia and Priceline Group in addition to small travel agencies, restaurants, hotels, and business directories like OpenTable and Yelp. There are also marketplaces and social medial like Google and Facebook and meta searches like RoomGuru and Kayak or even peer-to-peer accommodation sharing like HomeAway and Airbnb.

If you are going to make a review website like TripAdvisor, you need to prepare to compete with those partners at also partner with them. For instance, TripAdvisor will compete with a site like Expedia for traffic, however, you will find TripAdvisor advertising the best deals for booking at Expedia.

Since the tourism industry is season-dependent, you may have problems with revenue streams when things go slow. Another issue is having face reviews which can easily downgrade your site. The purpose of reviews t help others with information about personal experiences in tourist spots like hotels and restaurants or even travel experiences such as flights and car hires. TripAdvisor has an algorithm that helps check spam reviews by looking at the patterns to see if there are biased reviews aimed at promoting a company. If you have a website for featuring reviews you need to devise ways to eliminate biased reviews.

Creating a Reviews Website such as TripAdvisor

When you want to create a review website like TripAdvisor with help of a website developers India team, you need to take actionable steps that lead you to build a site that performs and is trusted as the review-pool location for travelers. So what how do you go about creating the website?

1. Have a Unique Selling Proposition

You need to identify your target audience before you can start building the website. You should propose to them something that they won’t get from other similar websites. Of course, you don’t want to build exactly the same website as that of TripAdvisor, you surely need your own product.

Instead of focusing on the global market, you can be localized and consider serving an area that you feel is not properly represented when it comes to having crucial information and reviews for travelers. You can think of a narrow niche that focuses on a specific segment of the population or services like renting caravans, wedding venues, ski resorts, street food, local food, or hotels allowing travelers with pets.

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You can even have something like local restaurants offering delivery services where you get ratings and reviews for their services to help others needing such services to make an informed decision.

2. Defining the Basic Features

Review websites have features that are aimed at allowing interactability and connections. If you want to create a site like Trip Advisor, you should look for features like smart search and filters, reviews and ratings, and add listings.

You need to consider having smart searches and filters to help audiences find the information, services or products they want easily. Again, you should have a website that allows users to view the reviews and search reviews or even add new reviews. The reviews being posted are checked for offensive language, fake reviews, suspicious patterns, plagiarism, location, and device of use. Besides, you should encourage businesses to respond to the negative reviews they are getting so that they build their reputation. About 68 percent of travelers are willing to making a booking for a room in a hotel that actively responds to negative comments and reviews over hotels that decide to keep silent. In your review website, you need to allow businesses and brands to add listings. The brands should create their portfolio, description, photos, and add contact information.

You may want to include more features that help create a personalized approach to your business model. Since you have put together the functionalities and features that would help make your website be a review site like TripAdvisor, you can put in one-of-a-kind features. For example, you can have instant booking features where you can earn some commission after travelers make their booking through your review site.

To help motivate travelers to make use of the instant booking feature, you can come up with a strategy like the Best Value Hotels, Low-Cost Hotels, Decluttered Attractions, or even Booking Popularity. Travelers can then make their decision based on the strategy you have provided.

Rewards are another way to make your review website to be more interactive. When a traveler contributes to your site by writing a review or even adding a photo, they can get credits or points and the more points a reviewer garners the more badges they get the more they are recognized. While having badges may not qualify for any form of redeemable products, you have a recognition mark where you are appreciated by the other users of the site. People will be looking forward to your opinions and reviews when you visit places. It helps you grow your followers or fans and building your network.

You can even have travel timelines feature where you create a user profile with the places you visited a year ago and their photos. This way, you can look back and see which spots you have been to before. Other features include trip planner, GPS feature for directions, and Travel maps.

How Much It Costs To Build A Site Like Tripadvisor

You want to find out the dollar amount you would spend if you were to create a website like TripAdvisor. What you may realize is that you may not be able to create a fully-fledged directory or even a review site at a go – you start at some point and build up from there. TripAdvisor has been in existence since 2000 and initially, it was a review site, but today, you can have bookings, you can have profiles, you can get the best deals.

Depending on the functionality or purpose of your site and the features that are incorporated, it may take about 3 to 6 months to build the website and it may cost you somewhere from $10,000 to $25,000. However, the figures can vary depending on many things such as the features and the company doing web design and development. A website like TripAdvisor has features like admin panel, add new listings, review submission, and search and filters. If you are to use these features, the cost would in that range of up to $25,000. For more advanced features, the cost may also go up.


Building a website like TripAdvisor requires you to identify the audience and discover the product or service to offer. It may not difficult to get to the level where TripAdvisor is at the beginning, however, as you build up and discover more opportunities and growth, you start growing your website and its features. When you make all the considerations, you can work things out with a web developer India team to see how the site is going to be brought ground up with all the necessary features. The security of the website should be emphasized at the dev level so that the finished product is able to store customers and business information securely. This way, you have a site that brands and travelers can build trust with and can rely on in getting reviews, posting reviews, or even finding the best deals in the travel and hospitality industry.

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