TripAdvisor’s Christine Maguire Leads With Empathy During A Pandemic

Social Distancing With Friends

Travel has been one of the hardest-hit businesses during the pandemic. TripAdvisor, with the bulk of its business coming from travel brands, felt that impact mightily.

The company is forecasting virtually no Q2 revenue and had to make heavy cuts to its staff in an effort to weather the storm as shelter-in-place orders took effect around the globe.

Pre-pandemic, Christine Maguire, TripAdvisor’s VP of global advertising, was looking forward to one of the best quarters in year-over-year growth in recent memory. She was leading a diversification strategy to attract more nontravel brands to TripAdvisor.

Then COVID-19 hit. And this challenging time for her and her team altered her leadership style.

“I am typically very business- and action-oriented,” Christine says. “This time has made me take a step back and lead with empathy.”

With the economy reopening, TripAdvisor is starting to see interest in travel return – although the flavor has changed.

When TripAdvisor examines behavior across its properties, there is a focus on daytrips, road trips and the outdoors. And those who weren’t planning to travel with family are now planning more family trips, perhaps because they’re keeping to their quarantine pods.

Advertisers are hungry for this data. Brands that once approached TripAdvisor with finalized advertising plans instead want to hear how consumers are feeling about travel before shaping creative messaging and campaigns.

TripAdvisor is listening, too – and avidly planning for travel’s eventual return: “We’re in a good spot to rebuild for what we think this iterative future state of travel will be,” Christine says.

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