Tripadvisor, a world-renowned travel booking site, is launching a new subscription service titled Tripadvisor Plus. Priced at $99/year, the membership will allow users to unlock special discounts, personal service, and additional amenities to enhance their post-Covid travel plans. The company hopes to set itself up for success when 70% of travelers plan to book trips when it’s safe and healthy to do so.
In 2020, U.S. travel revenue declined 42% from 2019— a loss of $492 billion. Travel mandates and state-wide shutdowns continue to make it difficult for travel companies to meet revenue goals in 2021.
A New Subscription Model Benefits Travelers and Hotels
Currently, the subscription service exists on a waitlist-only basis. In the meantime, the company is working to attract hotelier interest to diversify the service’s offerings. Tripadvisor Plus is not only designed to benefit travelers, it’s also tailored for hotel companies.
Photo credit: Tripadvisor.com
Under this model, travelers will get more value for what they decide to spend on a trip. By doing business directly with hotels, 30% of normal handling/commission costs will be saved and reallocated toward discounts and perks that benefit travelers. These perks will range anywhere from spa discounts to room upgrades and complimentary wine. Without a middle man, the company can now reinvest money into facilitating memorable trips for its customers.
The subscription service could also help hotels make up for lost revenue from this past year. With no upfront costs or commission rates for hotels, Tripadvisor Plus will create demand and help hoteliers gain traction on the platform. This model is similar to Yelp’s features, in which participating hotels will receive special badging and enhanced placement within the site’s page. In Q4 2020, the company concluded that Tripadvisor hotels get an average of 20% more clicks to their property page. This increased visibility provides hotels another route to support their recovery efforts after a prolonged travel lockdown.
A New Subscription Service Paves a Brighter Future for Tripadvisor
Tripadvisor’s revenue and web traffic showed hopeful signs at the end of 2020. Operations cash flow in Q4 2020 was down $15 million— a surprising improvement to Q3’s $31-million and Q2’s $78-million loss. The company also managed to maintain steady web traffic throughout this time period.
As a world leader in travel guidance, the company’s credibility may entice hotels to jump aboard a massive revenue opportunity. “Hoteliers will flock to join the [Tripadvisor] Plus program and you cannot blame them,” claims Hospitality consultant Max Stafkov.
Tripadvisor looks to market its subscription service to its 500+ million monthly users. In a newsletter sent out to shareholders, the company speculates this subscription service to be a multi-billion dollar revenue source. In the same letter, the company states its plan to more heavily promote the service on transactions exceeding $750. This way, users gain more value in perks on a single transaction than their $99/year membership fee. The company estimates Tripadvisor Plus will amass tens of millions of subscribers.
“Tripadvisor Plus is a game-changer for both travelers and hoteliers,” says Kanika Soni, the chief commercial officer at Tripadvisor.
While the fight against Covid-19 continues, travel plans are once again in the realm of possibilities, and Tripadvisor looks to stay ahead of the curve with this new subscription service. This new model could begin changing the way consumers book travel and support Tripadvisor’s revenue growth for 2021.
- In 2020, U.S. travel revenue declined 42% from 2019, urging travel companies to adapt
- Tripadvisor Plus, the company’s new subscription service, is priced at $99/year and allows users to unlock special discounts, personal service and additional amenities on their travel plans
- All customers are welcome to join the service, but the company suggests the deal will best serve those involved with transactions over $750, calling it a “no brainer.”
- Hotels that participate in Tripadvisor Plus can expect to get an average of 20% more clicks on their property page
- This model is estimated to attract tens of millions of subscribers and generate a multi-billion-dollar revenue stream