Trip Advisor launches new travel subscription offering

At a time when subscriptions are popular, from retail to streaming, the travel platform is now offering a travel booking subscription

Trip Advisor has launched a new subscription offering, Tripadvisor Plus, aimed at travellers who want to get access to discounts, personalised service, upgrades and other benefits for an annual membership fee of US$99.

Like Amazon Prime and eBay Plus, the travel booking platform wants to appeal to customers willing to pay a premium for insider discounts and perks.

The program is free for hotels to join, with no upfront costs and zero commission rates, and Tripadvisor Plus hotels receive special badging and increased visibility on the Tripadvisor platform. Tripadvisor Plus launched in beta in December 2020 to a small slice of Tripadvisor’s traffic in the United States, and will soon become available to all US travellers with additional markets to follow.

Discounted room rates available via Tripadvisor Plus can only be viewed by Tripadvisor members and can only be booked by Tripadvisor Plus subscribers, ensuring those rates are not widely available on the open internet, thereby preserving a hotel’s rate integrity. And by participating in the program, Tripadvisor Plus hotels get full access to all of the customer information from each reservation. 

Tripadvisor communications manager, Asia-Pacific, Krystal Heng, noted there’s a notable void for an affordable, high-value subscription offering in travel at a time when subscriptions service for retail, music and video are popular.

“Tripadvisor is uniquely positioned to fill that void given our scale as the world’s largest travel platform and the trust we retain among a highly engaged set of travellers,” Heng told CMO.

“We’re fortunate as a brand to have a really loyal, highly engaged set of users, and so we wanted to create a truly compelling offering that would serve their trip planning needs. The Tripadvisor Plus model, on a platform of our scale, is something truly innovative in the travel sector and what is so great about it is that it is a win-win for both travellers and hoteliers alike."

For hotels,Tripadvisor Plus helps them reach a highly valuable customer segment. On average, Tripadvisor Plus subscribers spend more and stay longer than non-subscribers, Heng noted. Hotels can then market directly to guests after their stay, and opt in and out of discounting at any time as occupancy levels change.

As the world’s largest travel booking and information platform, the brand’s mission is to help everyone become a better traveller, from planning to booking to taking a trip.

“Our marketing strategy reflects that mission and purpose - it’s all about showcasing the travel guidance that helps travellers throughout the trip planning and booking process, whether discovering great places to stay, things to do, or where to eat,” Heng said.
 
The brand sees Tripadvisor Plus is a natural extension of its platform, giving engaged travellers the opportunity to boost their travel experience via savings and perks. “Since launching in beta to travellers in the US, we’re already finding that the value of the savings Tripadvisor Plus subscribers can access on a single booking can often exceed the cost of the annual subscription, making it a ‘no-brainer’ for consumers to sign-up,” Heng explained.

The brand is taking a staged approach to scaling Tripadvisor Plus worldwide. The brand knows that building a strong subscription business takes time.

“But we're excited and confident it’s strong consumer proposition that will resonate globally and our large audience and influence uniquely positions us to capitalise on this opportunity,” Heng added.

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