EveryTrail Was “Unappreciated Gem,” Says TripAdvisor Exec: A Look Inside Today’s Acquisition

2/3/11Follow @wroush

As we reported earlier today, Palo Alto mobile travel publishing startup EveryTrail is now part of TripAdvisor, the giant travel review site based in Newton, MA and owned by Bellevue, WA-based Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE). EveryTrail’s iPhone and Android apps allow users to document their travels by uploading geotagged photos and voice memos, which are arrayed across online maps that friends can browse later.

It’s an acquisition that could help TripAdvisor juice up its own mobile apps with more user-generated content from EveryTrail users—and vice-versa, with EveryTrail users perhaps gaining access to the hotel and restaurant reviews shared by TripAdvisor’s 40 million members. But how the integration will play out is still unclear. To find out more, I called up Adam Medros, TripAdvisor’s vice president of global products.

Medros says not much will change right away—TripAdvisor intends to let the five-person team at EveryTrail keep working away on new features, such as the recently-added voice memo feature. But over time, Medros says, there will be interesting opportunities to weave the apps together. Here’s the full writeup of my interview with Medros:

Xconomy: Interesting news. Thanks for making time to talk.

Adam Medros: No problem. We’ve known Joost [Schreve, EveryTrail's founder and CEO] for a little while from the travel space. They have built just a great product, and I think this is something that was an unappreciated gem. We are super excited to have them joining.

X: How might users of TripAdvisor’s mobile apps or websites start to see EveryTrail functionality showing up?

AM: It’s day one of the acquisition, so it’s still early days in terms of figuring all that out. With all the acquisitions that TripAdvisor has done, we’ve always been really hands-off in making sure we let the business continue to thrive but giving it access to the resources the TripAdvisor travel community has built. We have, globally, 40 million users. So in the very near term, you’re not going to see a big difference. We will continue to let EveryTrail do their thing and grow. They have been doing all these great things, like adding audio to your ability to record.

But clearly, if you are in Paris, and you are in TripAdvisor and using TripAdvisor on your mobile device, and EveryTrail has relevant content, we want to surface that. What we love about EveryTrail is that it’s geo-based and contextual, so we can plug it into TripAdvisor, in terms of letting you download a walking tour and consume that content. That is the easy part. Offering up contextually relevant content to you wherever you are in the world. But since you are an EveryTrail user, you already know that it works in offline modes and can be a standalone app for that Paris trip. So those are things we think are exciting.

In terms of being able to record your trip using EveryTrail technology from inside the TripAdvisor app, that is a trickier thing to integrate. We’ll have to see when the time is right, and try to figure out how to make these things work.

X: Are you thinking about even deeper types of integration? For example, if you’re recording a trip in EveryTrail and TripAdvisor has information or reviews about one of the stops on the trip, is there a way to surface that?

AM: If you look at the assets, if you will, that each party brings to the table, I think that what we saw was a company that had built a great set of apps, had collected user-generated content that people loved and wanted to use, about places where TripAdvisor content could make the functionality even more relevant and more robust. So I would fully expect that if a stop on the Freedom Trail in EveryTrail is Old North Church, and TripAdvisor has relevant content about Old North Church, we are going to help you discover that, whether it’s inside TripAdvisor or inside EveryTrail.

X: Will Joost Schreve and his team at EveryTrail stay in Palo Also, or move to Newton?

AM: There are no plans to move them. They want to stay in Palo Alto and we want them to stay in Palo Alto. We are going to help grow them, and they and the mobile team at TripAdvisor here will work pretty closely together on a number of fronts, both knowledge sharing and, as we talked about, all the places where it makes sense for our apps and their apps to overlap.

X: I look forward to seeing how EveryTrail will evolve with access to TripAdvisor’s resources. Their integration of photography and GPS alone is something I was writing about and wishing for as long ago as 2005.

AM: People love the content and the ability to record their trips and share them with friends, that’s clear. But when I look at it, in its guts it’s a publishing platform. If you think about all the content that TripAdvisor has access to, and all the travel content out there, EveryTrail is really just a platform to expand what travelers can do on mobile. And that’s the beauty we see in it.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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