Tripadvisor has officially launched its annual subscription program, Tripadvisor Plus, in the U.S.
Membership in Tripadvisor Plus is $99 per year. Members booking on the Tripadvisor Plus platform enjoy members-only prices and perks for travel products. The subscription program was announced last year and has been in beta testing since. It is now available in the U.S., with more markets to follow.
The main draw of Tripadvisor Plus is hotel savings. Members save, on average, $350 per stay, according to Tripadvisor.
"This means most members recover the annual fee on their very first trip, and still save plenty more that they can use to make their trip even better," the company said in a statement.
CEO Steve Kaufer has explained that the lodging discounts come from asking hotels to take what would normally be a commission for selling a hotel, and instead passing it on to the subscriber as a discount. He called the model a "win-win-win:" Travelers get discounts, Tripadvisor gets the subscription fee and a recurring revenue stream, and hoteliers gain bookings for the same, or better, distribution costs as with other channels.
In addition to that savings, members also get a perk from the hotel.
Tripadvisor Plus members also have access to savings on nearly 400,000 bookable experiences; savings and benefits from Hertz rental cars; flight deal alerts along their travel journey; and access to travel advice via Tripadvisor Text.
Tripadvisor's partnership with Hertz was announced alongside the official launch of Tripadvisor Plus. Members save on Hertz and Dollar base rates and get a complimentary year of Hertz Five Star elite status. The young-renter fee will be waived for Plus members, who will also get free rentals of children's car seats and extended Hertz counter hours if their flight is delayed.
Tripadvisor Text gives Plus members the ability to text with "trip insiders," Tripadvisor employees who are available 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday. They can provide information and recommendations to members. Tripadvisor said questions should be answered within one business day, or, hopefully, sooner.
While insiders can provide objective information like details on travel restrictions and safety protocols, Tripadvisor said, they will not provide medical information or assessments of travel risk.