Marketing Agency Models Content Marketing

TripAdvisor wants to compete with agencies and publishers


By Sam Bradley | Senior Reporter

October 4, 2022 | 6 min read

The travel platform has launched a new content studio, Wanderlab, helmed by an ex-Conde Nast executive.

Still from a Wanderlab campaign for Ford

A still from Wanderlab’s Ford Bronco campaign, which promoted off-roading and travel in the US / Wanderlab/TripAdvisor

For travelers worldwide, TripAdvisor has become an essential tool for navigating new cities and tourist destinations.

The company behind the platform has supported itself through advertising for clients in the travel sector – airlines, hotel chains, tourism authorities – but now wants to move beyond that category and bring in bigger, broader brands.

To do that, it’s launching its own content studio and production agency, Wanderlab. The business is headquartered in SoHo in New York City and already employs a staff of around 40, following a soft launch phase last year.

Its founding client as a fully-fledged studio offering is San Diego Tourism Authority, though it has already completed projects recently for carmaker Ford and produced a documentary about gen Z travelers to set out its stall.

While some of its content will be published on owned media channels, such as its site, or for streaming channels including Disney+, the studio will principally produce campaigns and content for social.

Though Wanderlab will take on projects independently of TripAdvisor’s day-to-day business, the company hopes to make use of TripAdvisor’s wealth of first-party data and its infrastructure to grow. Several members of its 40-strong team moved over from the main TripAdvisor business, according to Adam Ochman, director of marketing solutions, with additional freelance talent available when demand requires it.

Ochman says: “It’s a mixed bag of new hires and a reallocation of resources. We have strategists, we have creators, we have producers and designers – the whole bit.”


According to global comms head Brian Boyd, the venture has been in the works for some time – and was conceived back in 2019, when the platform first began to build out its media business. The pandemic, and its far-reaching implications for the travel business, postponed it for over two years.

“The hope is to build an in-house creative brand studio to help support other clients, whether it’s through partnerships with TripAdvisor, or white label, you know creative partnerships that we might devise,” he explains.

Anna Aksman, director of creative services, adds: “During the pandemic, we realized that brands and agencies weren’t thinking of TripAdvisor in a creative way. It’s about changing that perception through this property to make sure advertisers know what we can create on their behalf.

“This is the time to package up our skill set and our hunger for innovation in this way.”

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The studio is the brainchild of Christine Maguire, vice-president and general manager of media, who has been working to build up TripAdvisor’s media business since she was hired from Conde Nast back in 2019. She says that “no one knows the world’s experience-seekers like we do. We see an opportunity to create a more efficient media marketplace where we connect the right advertisers with the right consumers through inspiring and relevant creative, powered by global insights.”

TripAdvisor hopes to take advantage of the travel sector’s connection to other consumer categories and expand its advertiser base.

Boyd explains: “Travelers are spending thousands of dollars on a vacation but they’re also shopping in retail, they’re using a credit card, they’re driving a car, they’re drinking spirits – there are so many different verticals.”

That strategy isn’t unusual. Trippin, a niche travel content platform for the off-the-beaten-track crowd, launched an agency called All Corners back in June, with a very similar approach.

TripAdvisor will hope to attract clients on a significantly larger scale, though. Ochman says: “We’re talking to endemic travel clients, but also non-endemic partners – CPGs, auto, tech, telcos, finance, entertainment, quick-service restaurants – and telling them we’re here to change perceptions and get them to think of us in a new and unique way.”

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