经济学人:旅行网站 大卫对阵两大巨人
日期:2014-08-12 16:23



Travel websites
David vs two Goliaths
TripAdvisor could challenge the big two providers of online travel services
Service poor, view disappointing
“BREAKFAST is nasty, the rooms are nasty.” So complained a reviewer of anOregonguesthouse earlier this year. There is nothing unusual in that: all hotels must deal with the odd disgruntled guest. This critique, though, appeared on TripAdvisor, a travel-review website. When the correspondent went on to document drunken housekeepers and licentious receptionists, the owners sued him. It was more than a point of pride. What customers say on TripAdvisor can make or break hotels. Around 260m people visit the site each month to read some of the 125m reviews.
The firm makes money by displaying prices from online travel-agents (OTAs) alongside its reviews, and then charging those agents each time a customer clicks through. It is such a good example of a network effect that it is the subject of a Harvard Business School (HBS) case study. The more users post reviews, the more useful the site is to those about to book a holiday. This makes it more important to hotels and travel agents, who offer better deals. This results in more traffic—and more reviews—closing the virtuous circle. Last year TripAdvisor reported revenue of $944.7m. Because users post reviews free of charge, in 2012, Jeffrey Bussgang, an HBS lecturer, calculated that its gross margin was an astounding 98%.
该公司通过显示网上旅游社的报价以及顾客的相关评论来盈利。每个用户每次点击进入该网站,它都会向相关旅行社收取费用。对于哈佛商学院一个以网络效应为主题的案例研究来说,这是一个很好的例子。对于那些正打算预订假期的人,越多的用户发布评论,就越有帮助。对于酒店和旅行社,这也使得“哪家更划算?”的问题更加重要。这会导致更多的浏览量—更多的评论—逐渐打破良性循环。旅行顾问网站去年营收9.447亿美元。由于用户发布评论是免费的,据哈佛商学院的讲师Jeffrey Bussgang 计算,该公司2012年毛利率惊人的高达98%。

For these reasons, some think TripAdvisor may be able to take on the “big two” OTAs, Expedia and Priceline, which on August 6th bought up to 10% of Ctrip, a large travel website in China. These firms sell flights and hotel rooms directly, rather than pass booking requests on to others, as TripAdvisor does. But, says Blake Harper of Wunderlich Securities, a stockbroker, the two ways of doing business are converging. Sites owned by the big two, such as Hotels.com and Booking.com, now encourage user reviews. At the same time, TripAdvisor has launched Instant Booking, which lets smartphone users complete their bookings without leaving the TripAdvisor site.
出于这些原因,有些人认为旅行顾问公司也许能够取代两大网上旅行社:Expedia以及Priceline,其在8月6日买进了中国大型旅行网站—携程10%的股票。和旅行顾问公司一样,这些公司直接提供机票和酒店房间预订,而不是将预订请求转给他人。但是,美国德奇证券的一个股票经纪人Blake Harper表示,这两种商业模式正在融合。如今,这两大网站的诸多子网站如Hotels.com 和 Booking.com正鼓励用户添加评论。同时,旅行顾问网站发布了即时预订功能,即智能手机用户可直接在旅行顾问网站上完成他们的预订。
Instant Booking serves another purpose. Half of TripAdvisor's traffic comes through mobile devices. Being able to book in a single place will make its app slicker. Moreover, smartphones are creating firms which cater to travellers when they arrive at their destination—and TripAdvisor is getting into that business. In May it paid a reported $140m for La Fourchette, an online restaurant-booking service. On 24th July it said it was paying $200m for Viator, a firm that sells guided tours and other touristy activities.
即时预订功能也有另一个用途。旅行顾问网站一半的浏览量来自移动设备。能够仅在一个网站上完成预订将使其应用软件更进一步。此外,智能手机正促使一些公司成立,以为到达旅行目的地后的旅行者提供服务。且旅行顾问公司正逐步开展这一业务。据报道,5月它花费1.4亿美元收购了一家在线餐厅预订服务商La Fourchette。6月24日,它花费2亿美元收购一家提供导游以及其他观光服务的公司Viator。
TripAdvisor's boss, Stephen Kaufer, denies he wants to take on the big two. “We are a media site,” he says. “I want Expedia and Priceline to thrive because they are my clients.” But soon, holidaymakers will be able to book their entire trips without leaving the TripAdvisor app. Rivals beware.
旅行顾问公司的老板Stephen Kaufer否认其想要取代这两大网上旅行社。他说:“我们是一家媒体网站。我希望Expedia和Priceline能够繁荣发展,因为它们是我的客户。”但是很快,假期预订者将能够在旅行顾问应用软件上预订他们的整个旅程。竞争对手要小心了。

1.deal with 处理;涉及

This chapter deals with the problem of inflation.

I'll deal with the children later.

2.bring up 提出;教育;养育

My parents brought me up to respect others.

The teachers brougth the pupils up on stories about the Old East.

3.rather than 而不是;宁可

I,rather than you,should do the work.

I,rather than you,should do the work.

  • astoundingadj. 令人惊骇的 动词astound的现在分词形式
  • correspondentn. 通讯记者,通信者 adj. 与 ... 一致的,相
  • priden. 自豪,骄傲,引以自豪的东西,自尊心 vt. 以 .
  • virtuousadj. 有品德的,善良的,贞洁的
  • caterv. 备办食物,迎合,满足
  • documentn. 文件,公文,文档 vt. 记载,(用文件等)证明
  • lecturern. 演讲者,讲师
  • calculatedadj. 计算出的;适合的;有计划的 v. 计算;估计;
  • inflationn. 膨胀,通货膨胀
  • destinationn. 目的地,终点,景点