Tripadvisor Plus is shutting down after three years

Tripadvisor’s attempt to create a subscription program that would give travelers discounts, drive bookings for suppliers and revenue for itself is ending after just more than three years.

“We’ve taken the decision to end our Tripadvisor Plus program,” said a Tripadvisor spokesperson in an emailed statement.

The program initially became available in beta in December 2020 and launched fully in June 2021 with a $99 annual membership fee and free participation for suppliers such as hotels and car rental companies that offered discounts and perks to members.

Just three months later, Tripadvisor shifted the program to a cash-back model in an attempt to bring in more large hotel chains. 

Since becoming CEO in July 2022, Matt Goldberg has talked about rethinking the Plus program. Speaking on Center Stage at The Phocuswright Conference in
November, Goldberg explained why the company was shifting to focus more on the benefits of free membership.

“Asking the consumer to pull out their wallet and put their
credit card down for  something new could
feel a little bit jarring for a brand and site that didn’t ask consumers to do
that in the past. So while the value proposition there … was a good value proposition,
it didn’t take off in the way maybe some thought it could,” he said.

“I think what you’ll see us do is lean into the highest
value, most engaged consumers that we would like to see repeating and driving
the highest LTV [lifetime value], not because they are paying for something but
because they are engaging …”

And in the statement Friday the company said, “Tripadvisor Plus was born out of our culture of innovation, and we now have a deeper understanding of our community’s preferences around benefits and rewards. Armed with this knowledge, we are
better equipped than ever to innovate and refine our approach to membership.
We’re grateful to all the Plus subscribers who have been on this journey with us
and have helped us move towards an even more impactful and engaging experience
for our community.”

Former Tripadvisor Plus participant Pablo Delgado Díaz-Pache, who is managing partner and CEO for America at Mirai, commented on its shuttering on LinkedIn, sharing a screenshot of a discontinuation email addressed to him.

“It was arguable the value proposition of the program for hotels (not that much for users as I saved a lot by using it) … but in a world dominated by just a few (Google, Booking, Expedia) all my compliments for Tripadvisor for, at least, trying something different and good luck for its next attempt,” he wrote.

Watch Goldberg’s full interview with PhocusWire senior reporter Linda Fox below.

Tripadvisor: Going for Global – The Phocuswright Conference 2023

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