TripAdvisor gets more social by buying Wanderfly

TripAdvisor’s VP of Global Product Adam Medros was just at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference talking about how TripAdvisor was looking at adding more social features. Now the world’s largest travel site is putting its money where its mouth is by buying Wanderfly, a social travel recommendation site. The terms of the deal announced Tuesday were not disclosed.

The purchase gives TripAdvisor more travel inspiration tools that help users discover new trip ideas. Wanderfly, like some of its social travel competitors, moved to a more Pinterest for travel format earlier this year, allowing users to recommend places, add photos and save their favorite spots.

The acquisition makes sense for TripAdvisor. Medros said at Mobilize that TripAdvisor would like to develop ways for people to record their travels in journals and share them with others. And he said the company was also looking at ways for users to get more real-time recommendations from friends and strangers while on a trip. Wanderfly, which has raised $1.4 million to date, doesn’t do all of that but it’s a nice foundation for TripAdvisor to build upon. And TripAdvisor can use Wanderfly’s tools to enhance its mobile apps, something Wanderfly didn’t have.

It makes you wonder if other social travel sites will be able to survive as standalone businesses. As we’ve mentioned, it’s hard to be in the social planning and inspiration market when people just don’t travel that much. I’ll be interested to see what happens to other companies like GTrot, Trippy, Tripl, Tripbirds, Twigmore and even bigger names like Gogobot. It might be that some can survive but I’m doubtful they can all make it by themselves.