Many in the travel industry are questioning if TripAdvisor's new flight meta search product can change TripAdvisor's position in the "travel funnel." Today, TripAdvisor sits at the top of the hill during the hotel planning process which generally follows air. Google any hotel or city and TripAdvisor is more than likely at the top or near the top of the organic (non-paid) search listings thanks to great content and years of SEO.
But for hotel bookers who have already booked their air, TA is too late. Compete.com did a nice piece today detailing air visits pre- and post-TA visits. According to their numbers, "when TripAdvisor users shop for flights, only 13% will do so on the same day as their TripAdvisor.com usage"
Here is where TripAdvisor's huge advantage in organic SEO comes into play. Try a simple google search such as "Boston to Miami Flights" Guess who is #3 in this search - Yes, TripAdvisor. Not bad to be number three in organic search three days after launch! (Note: I don't search for flights this way but I think my mom does.)
Clearly, these strong organic (and free) search results will give TA a big head start in the meta-wars with Kayak.com and Fly.com