USA Today scoops up another travel asset on life support: This time Tripology
December 3, 2023
In a significant move, USA Today's Travel Media Group recently announced the acquisition of Tripology.com from Rand McNally. This strategic decision, spearheaded by John Peters, the current president of USA Today Travel Media Group, marks a noteworthy development in the media giant's efforts to expand its digital footprint in the travel industry. Peters, who had previously been the CEO of Tripology before its acquisition by Rand McNally, now finds himself at the helm of orchestrating Tripology's fate once again.
The Acquisition Rationale:
Peters, in the acquisition announcement, emphasized the alignment of Tripology with USA Today's overarching growth strategy. According to him, the USA Today Travel Media Group has been diligently expanding its digital portfolio of travel news, products, and services over the past year. With decades of providing audiences with user-friendly travel content, the acquisition of Tripology introduces additional tools to enhance the consumer travel experience.
Understanding Tripology's Model:
Tripology operates as a travel agent referral site where consumers can submit information about their upcoming trips. In response, up to three travel agents contact them, offering services and suggested itineraries. Travel agents pay a fee for these referrals, hoping to secure the consumer's business. This unique model positions Tripology as a bridge connecting eager travelers with travel professionals.
Integration with Gannett's Network:
A key aspect of USA Today's strategic vision is the integration of Tripology's travel agent referral services across Gannett's extensive network. With over 100 websites under Gannett, reaching around 52 million monthly unique visitors, USA Today aims to leverage the widespread reach of its parent company to maximize the impact of its services.
USA Today's Recent Ventures:
The acquisition of Tripology is part of USA Today's broader initiatives in the travel sector over the past couple of years. In September, the media giant invested in and played a role in launching HotelMe, a hotel review site featuring verified guest reviews. Concurrently, USA Today, in collaboration with launch partner Hilton, introduced The Point, a flat-screen "portal" in hotel lobbies providing guests with news, entertainment, and destination content.Adding to its repertoire, USA Today recently launched a destination guide to Las Vegas. They serve as a model for future coverage in major destinations. These ventures highlight the media brand's commitment to diversifying its travel content assets and enhancing the overall travel experience for its audience.
The acquisition of Tripology follows USA Today's pattern of picking up digital travel assets strategically. In January, the media giant acquired 10 Best from Travora Media as the latter phased out its content business. Both 10 Best and Tripology may have faced challenges with consumers. USA Today, armed with the expansive Gannett media network, aims to breathe new life into these platforms.
Tripology's Potential Revival:
Although both 10 Best and Tripology may have been perceived as flops by consumers. The acquisition of Tripology comes with unique advantages. While 10 Best possesses destination content, Tripology boasts established relationships with travel agents. This is a valuable asset that USA Today believes it can leverage effectively. The question remains: can USA Today, with the backing of the Gannett media network, give Tripology the revitalization it needs?In conclusion, USA Today's acquisition of Tripology reflects a strategic move to strengthen its foothold in the dynamic travel industry. John Peters, with his history at Tripology, brings a unique perspective to the table as he navigates the platform's future. With plans to integrate its services across Gannett's extensive network, USA Today is poised to offer a comprehensive travel experience to its vast audience.The media brand's recent attack on travel-related ventures, coupled with the acquisition of Tripology. It underscores its commitment to innovation and adaptation in an ever-evolving industry. As USA Today continues to shape the landscape of travel content and services. The success of Tripology under its stewardship remains a compelling narrative to watch unfold.