TripAdvisor’s Acquisition of Citymaps Aimed at Improving Marketing of Location-Based Activities

The silence of a relatively quiet year for TripAdvisor and its numerous online contemporaries in terms of acquisitions was finally broken with TripAdvisor’s acquisition of New York-based Citymaps — a platform offering users map-based guides of ‘to do things’. This is TripAdvisor’s second acquisition in 2016, the first being Housetrip — a London-based vacation rental website. TripAdvisor did not reveal terms of both the acquisitions. TripAdvisor said that Citymaps will stay as a standalone business even after the acquisition.

TripAdvisor’s hotel offerings accounted for 81% of revenue in the second quarter. Both the 2016 acquisitions are an extension of TripAdvisor’s objective of establishing its non-hotel business, inclusive of restaurants. The company aims at offering travelers the “perfect trip” by easing research related to trip planning, hotel and vacation rental accommodation, and of course, all the in-destination ‘to do’ things. Citymaps will assist TripAdvisor with the latter.

TripAdvisor has their own mapping features to help travelers search and book whatever they need at their destinations — this is where they plan to leverage their new acquisition. The acquisition will also help TripAdvisor establish location-based marketing for tours and related activities. Citymaps has the technology to aid TripAdvisor personalize these marketing efforts in a much more streamlined manner, which is primarily why TripAdvisor went ahead with the acquisition.

Adam Medros, Senior Vice President, Global Product, TripAdvisor, said in a release, “The Citymaps team understands how people experience their day through a maps lens. We are excited to welcome the team to the TripAdvisor family of brands to help TripAdvisor ensure its mapping features best address the needs of its users who are increasingly accessing the site on mobile devices.”

Another logic behind this acquisition is TripAdvisor’s knowledge about how mapping technology is rapidly growing in importance for travelers. According to its “TripBarometer Connected Traveler” report dated last year, 81% US travelers alone use maps on their smartphones whenever they are traveling. Several tourists from other countries are also increasingly using maps on their mobile devices.

Citymaps, founded six years ago, managed to raise $12 million funding from renowned investors such as actor Ashton Kutcher, Coatue Management, and Nokia Growth Partners, among others. As of March 2016, Citymaps reported that it had approximately one million users and they generated revenue through partnerships, licensing and booking deals, and advertising. Citymaps is available on Android, iOS, desktop web, and mobile.

This article was originally published on MarTech Advisor