James Cottee, Tripadvisor: “There's always going to be challenges”

“There's always going to be challenges”

Companies are facing several challenges right now - third-party cookies are almost extinct, global data privacy regulation is growing, and consumers are more aware than ever of what happens with their data online, to name only a few. As an ever-evolving industry, media and advertising has always faced new challenges, even before we were discussing alternatives and new ways to deliver personalized advertising, and once those are solved, there will be new ones in the future. 

In the latest episode of our Identity Architects podcast, our Sales Director, Sunil Modha, sat down with James Cottee, Principal Client Partner, EMEA, at Tripadvisor, to discuss collaboration, the value exchange, and much more.

“It comes down to data and how clean it is [...] but also the partners that you work with. I'm sure you've seen it yourself, being retargeted for things that you've already purchased and you know it’s frustrating. You made a commitment to that brand because you saw the ad and went ahead and purchased it and now you’re being asked to buy it again.”

At this stage, all customer-centric companies should have a first-party data strategy in place - whether in the early stages of implementation, or testing, learning and growing. Tripadvisor is well prepared for the first-party data era, so we asked James what he would recommend every company can do to prepare for the foreseeable future.

“We know there's been a delay with the third-party cookie but people need to start thinking about their own first-party data strategies anyway, so just continue to explore and start from the beginning. [...] Certainly doing an audit, seeing how exposed you'd be and doing that as the starting point would be my recommendation. And then thinking about where does your brand have a right to play. [...] And is there a good strong quality audience that matches what your brand has to offer, are you able to reach people in a meaningful way with the right message at the right time.”

It always comes back to how data impacts the consumer’s experience. Companies need to understand their own business and their consumers in order to create value and partnerships are an integral part of that. Tripadvisor partners with various companies to deliver value to their consumers, so we asked James what they are looking for in a partner.

“I think it comes back to do you have a right to play in the kind of travel and and lifestyle space. [...] There's always what we call a travel angle. So I think it's do you have a right to reach our audience and are you going to enhance their experience whether that's from a travel perspective or a lifestyle perspective. [...] Can we find the right angle, is your offering something that resonates well with our audience, does it make their experience better.”

We're seeing more and more of these collaborations take place, including collaborations that just a few years ago we would have thought weren’t compatible. 

“There's so many different sectors and industries that you wouldn't necessarily associate with travel. But actually there's going to be a particular angle that we can find. What we tend to look for is does your brand resonate with our audience and can help you as well. Can we help your brand to get the exposure you're looking for and to achieve your objectives and I wouldn't be shy sometimes to walk away from brand partnerships that perhaps aren't the right fit or we're just trying to put a square peg in a circle hole.”

We love seeing new collaborations and partnerships evolving - especially ones that are completely new to the industry. It’s about thinking outside the box and thinking through the whole customer journey and not just one aspect of it. Which is why Modha wanted to know what kind of collaborations James would like to see more not and just in the industry just in general. 

“We've seen some really interesting partnerships even in recent times like with Lego and Ikea coming together, Audi and Brewdog. [...] For obvious reasons working in the travel industry I'd love to see brands from all different industries thinking about traveling in a number of different ways like with the sectors that I focus on at Tripadvisor, finance. When people travel abroad people are moving away from using cash, especially post-pandemic, so utilizing products that are low fee and are easy to use and perhaps even digital. I think the finance industry and travel go quite nicely together hand-in-hand. [...] There's so many different opportunities I'd really like to see these partnerships go live on our platform that are really quite unexpected because I think it excites people and I think it creates that kind of fame that both sides are looking for when coming together in a partnership.”

We must all work together and collaborate for a better future that puts the consumer and in this case the traveler first. As Lara Izlan at ITV said in one of our previous episodes, without people there is no business. Just like there is no business without partnerships.

Thanks, James, for the chat!