trip advisor


What: Ana Acevedo, RCI’s senior vice president of marketing and Portada Travel Marketing Board Member, tells Portada that online reviews and user generated content marketing are growing in importance in Latin America.
Why it matters: As a result, RCI is finding new ways to leverage online reviews. The aim is to improve customer communications, build market credibility and increase sales.

Every time a customer stays at one of RCI’s thousands of affiliated time share properties across the globe, RCI surveys them. RCI asks them to rate their experience, right down to the most minute detail, including the quality of the resort’s housekeeping services.

RCI is one of the two largest timeshare companies in the world and works with more than 4,000 resorts.

Ana Laura Acevedo
Ana Laura Acevedo, Senior Vice President Marketing & Business Development, RCI Latin America

When an RCI member makes a negative remark on the company’s rating system, RCI follows up by contacting the resort where the customer stayed.

“We let the resort know. That way they can answer directly,” RCI’s senior vice president of marketing Ana Laura Acevedo tells Portada.

“Reviews are very important. In an industry likes ours, they are key because consumers don’t always believe what you say as a brand.”

Reviews are very important. In an industry likes ours, they are key because consumers don’t always believe what you say as a brand.

Online reviews now enjoy an outsized role in consumer purchasing decisions. Consequently, RCI has responded aggressively. It is turning customers’ comments into a powerful way of building brand credibility and communications.

User generated content marketing gaining weight in LATAM

“The importance of user generated content marketing in the form of online reviews is growing rapidly in Latin America. It’s already pretty strong in more mature markets like Brazil,” Acevedo says.

Five years ago, Brazilians Adriana Coelho and Andreia Assunção founded the Facebook page Viajando pela RCI to help consumers make decisions about purchasing and staying at timeshare properties.

The page has more than 7,000 followers. Comments by consumers can literally make or break a resort, according to Acevedo.

“It has gained so much strength that we are partners with them and we sponsor some of their events,” Acevedo tells Portada.

Questions about RCI that appear on the page are sent directly to RCI’s social media.

In fact, the Facebook page attracts so much attention that the page administrator sends inquiries about RCI properties directly to RCI’s salespeople, Coelho said at an event in June sponsored by the Brazilian publication Turismo Compartilhado.

Trip Advisor dominates

Trip Advisor is the most powerful and important online review site for the time share industry, according to Acevedo.

Recognizing Trip Advisor’s influence, RCI has an agreement with the site that allows RCI to republish on RCI websites Trip Advisor reviews written by RCI members.

RCI has also found other  =ways to leverage the power of online reviews by consumers.

Software created by Chute Apps allows Facebook users who are RCI members to instantly authorize RCI to use timeshare experience photos the users post on Facebook in official RCI marketing.

The importance of online reviews is growing rapidly in Latin America. It’s already pretty strong in more mature markets like Brazil.

Photos taken by RCI’s customers reduce the need to rely on stock photography for its marketing. They also carry a lot more credibility with consumers, according to Acevedo.

Using RCI customers’ photos has generated an increase in the click-through rate on all of RCI’s email, Facebook and Twitter campaigns, Acevedo says.

Social media monitoring

Take for instance, Social media monitoring. The technology also plays an important role in RCI’s ability to respond to and leverage the power of online reviews.

RCI now uses the services of Revinate to monitor what guests are saying about RCI’s affiliated resorts.

“It pulls reviews from Booking.com, Expedia, tourism boards and anyone that has a travel site where members can post reviews. It’s like a meta-searcher of reviews,” Acevedo tells Portada.

Using Revinate’s social media monitoring services also enables RCI to respond quickly to negative reviews.

Recent studies provide overwhelming evidence of the importance of online reviews in customers’ purchasing decisions.

95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase.

Recent studies provide overwhelming evidence of the importance of online reviews in customers’ purchasing decisions.

According to a compilation of studies by the website G2 Crowd Learning Hub, nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase. Seventy-two percent of customers don’t take action until they have read reviews.

“If you run a small business today, the single most important thing you can do to attract new customers is to take control of your online review score on sites like Yelp, Google My Business, FourSquare and TripAdvisor,” a recent column in Forbes Magazine advised readers.

Which sites do Hispanic users use for their travel planning? How important is each platform, depending on the content offered? On which sites do they decide to make their purchases? Read on for the answers to these questions, drawn from comScore’s April 2017 ranking.

It seems that US Hispanics are very interested in travel, with 74% of all users checking out travel-related sites in April of this year.

Source: comScore MMX Multi-Platform, Travel, U.S., Hispanic All, April 2017, Desktop 2+ and Mobile 18+Total Unique Viewers (000)
Total Digital Population
   Total Internet: Hispanic All35,703
1   TripAdvisor Inc.11,971
2   Expedia Inc.7,297
3   Uber6,359
4   Priceline.com Incorporated3,703
5   Lyft, Inc.3,005
6   USA TODAY Travel1,722
7   Southwest Airlines Co.1,571
8   American Airlines1,538
9   CNN Travel1,460
10   Airbnb Sites1,386

The ranking shows that when it comes to travel, Hispanic users like to be well-informed. This could explain why TripAdvisor is in first place, with almost 12 million unique visits in April.

The next step for users is to access and purchase the trips they have chosen. This explains why  OTA Expedia came in second, with 7.2 million visits.

Uber claimed the third spot in this month’s ranking, a sign that the start-up’s efforts to remain a market leader in local transport services have born fruit, with 23.7% of Hispanics who consume travel-related content visiting the Uber site.

But the competition isn’t far behind. Lyft gained territory to claim fifth place, with 3 million unique visits.

Meanwhile, two airlines managed to carve out a spot in the ranking: Southwest Airlines ranked seventh, with 1.57 million visits; and American Airlines, eighth, with 1.53 million. It seems that American’s series of travel altercations did not affect its market presence too much.

Finally, it is worth noting that no hotel chain made the ranking this month. While Hispanic users are interested in lodging, they may prefer new alternatives such as Airbnb, whose usage policies continue to be adjusted in accordance with the local laws of each of the locations where service is provided. Even so, the platform received 1.4 million hits.

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What sites do Latin American users consult when planning their trips? How important is each of these platforms, relative to the information they offer? Is it possible to establish their decision-making process when it comes to planning trips? We answer these questions here, using comScore‘s September 2016 rankings.

During September 2016, 29% of Latin American resident users visited the “travel” category, according to the comScore report.

Source: comScore Media Metrix, LatAm, Hogar y Trabajo, PC/Laptop solamente, September 2016Total Unique Visitors (000)
    Total Internet : Total Audience197.612
1    Despegar-Decolar Sites15.550
2    TripAdvisor Inc.11.450
3    Priceline.com Incorporated6.920
4    Expedia Inc6.359
5    LATAM.COM5.725
6    LanChile S.A.2.903
7    GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes2.594
8    Uber2.003
9    CVC.COM.BR1.927
10    MSN Travel1.660

The Despegar sites (and their Brazilian version, Decolar), attracted 27% of unique visitors, while Expedia, the North American equivalent of Despegar and Decolar, received 11% of the users. Other visitors (mostly Brazilians, probably) chose CVC (which, while it came in ninth on the ranking, received 3% of Latin American visitors in the informed period).

Coming in second, TripAdvisor was visited by 20% of the users.

With respect to search engines that help find the best prices for travel, Latin American visitors chose Priceline, which received 12% of the region’s visitors in September.

20% of Latin American visited the LATAM sites for the LanChile and Gol Linhas Aereas airlines, while Uber was the only ranked platform in the ground transportation category.

Finally, the travel portal MSN came in last, with 3% of the visitors.

How do Latin American users plan their trips?

The order that each of these sites and platforms appears on the comScore platform allows us to guess what path users take when planning their trips.

First, they choose destinations and resolve logistical issues (tickets, hotels, transport) through Despegar’s sites, a platform which (for many Latin Americans) is the starting point for any destination that they have in mind, as if it were a control panel that allows them a general vision of all aspects of their trips.

In second place, they would seek the opinions of other users on TripAdvisor, to then (after defining the destination and logistics) compare prices on Priceline and Expedia, with the goal of seeking better fares.

Finally, before finishing the operation, they seek rates with direct providers, without intermediaries (explaining the presence of LatAm, LanChile and GOL airlines on this ranking).

Once they have finished this process and made an informed decision, they probably execute the operation through Despegar.com (because of how easy it is to concentrate everything into one platform that is “run by Latin Americans”).

Of course, while we can’t know for sure if this is the path that all users take, what is certain is that the rankings allow us to establish their priorities when consuming content related to trips and tourism.

A summary of the most exciting recent news in travel marketing and media in the U.S., U.S.-Hispanic and Latin American markets. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.


JetBlue Technology Ventures announced its investment in Mozio, the San Francisco based tech startup, specializing in providing holistic ground transportation solutions that streamline the traveler experience to and from the airport.

This is JetBlue Technology Ventures’ second investment. Since launch, JetBlue Technology Ventures has captured the attention of hundreds of interested startups, as well as the investment community, recently being named the 2016 Global Corporate Venturing New Entrant of the Year. JetBlue Technology Ventures also recently partnered with the like-minded Cockpit Innovation Hub based in Tel Aviv.

American Express Global Business Travel has come to an agreement with Airbnb to offer their accommodation options to their customers. This will give Airbnb the opportunity to connect with more business travelers. According to the company, 10% of all their guests are company travelers.

Virgin America and Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines, announced the approval of their merger agreement to combine to create a premier airline for West Coast travelers. The two airlines anticipate completing the transaction in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Skyscanner improved its mobile app to let users search and book flights, hotels, and car rental all in the same platform.

TripAdvisor introduced a redesigned flight search, including user reviews of airlines. It has also launched a “flyscore” feature within its search results. On a 1 to 10 scale, “flyscore” measures a flight based upon reviews of the airline, type of aircraft used, amenities offered on the flight and length of itinerary.

Google added a few tricks to its flights and hotels metasearch on both desktop and mobile. Users can now choose to track price changes for date and route combination on specific flights. The tool will appear within the next month in the 26 countries where Google Flights is offered.

In addition, Google is adding filters, based on more granular shopping needs, such as hotel rating or rate range, with one tap on mobile devices.


Latam Airlines will stop its flights to and from Venezuela starting July 30th. The airline explained it would cease its activity in Venezuela given the “complex macroeconomical scenery in the region.”

Qatar Airlines acquired 10% of Latam for US$ 613 million worth in stocks.

Grupo Presidente, one of the leading hotel chains in Mexico, has selected eRevMax to manage its online distribution through dynamic channel management and price intelligence.