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TripAdvisor Plus for hotel owners

  Posted in Resources  Last updated 31/01/2024

What is TripAdvisor Plus?

TripAdvisor Plus is a subscription service for travellers to get exclusive rates and benefits at participating hotels. It’s an annual membership that will cost travellers USD $100 with TripAdvisor noting this outlay could be saved on the first booking alone, making sign-up almost an accomplished fact.

Guests are set to enjoy lower rates as well as a range of benefits and discounts such as bar/restaurant and spa vouchers, included extras such as breakfast, complimentary upgrades or tickets to local attractions, flexible check-in/out times and more.

Hotels which participate in the program will be able to offer guests exclusive perks, increasing their capability to win the booking of ready-to-buy travellers. While TripAdvisor will offer this initiative to hotels on a no-commission basis, hotels will need to offer a minimum 10% discount from BAR (Best Available Rate) and commit to offering value-added services.

This blog will tell you everything you need to know about TripAdvisor Plus and the potential impact it will have on your hotel business.

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How does TripAdvisor Plus work?

On the traveller side, TripAdvisor Plus is a simple service: pay $100 per year to gain access to amazing travel deals.

On the hotel side things are slightly more complex. As mentioned above, TripAdvisor won’t charge a fee for opting into the program, but the platform does require properties to offer a discount of 10% or more on their best available rate in order to participate.

Opting in will see a property receive a special badge on its profile, as well as increased visibility on the platform, so the cost of this discount could be more than covered by the extra bookings you receive from TripAdvisor Plus members.

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How does TripAdvisor make money?

Most visitors to the TripAdvisor website have never directly paid to use the platform. But this is not a charity – TripAdvisor owner, Liberty Tripadvisor Holdings Inc, sees to that. So how does TripAdvisor, and TripAdvisor Plus, make money?

TripAdvisor makes money through three primary channels: advertising, subscriptions and commissions.

In terms of TripAdvisor Plus, the $100 charged to travellers who take part in the program falls into the ‘subscriptions’ channel.

In terms of TripAdvisor Plus hotels, while the platform may not charge a fee to properties for taking part in the program, it does take a commission fee on any bookings made through the program, so earns money through its ‘commissions’ channel.

Is TripAdvisor Plus legit?

Asking whether TripAdvisor Plus is legit is similar to asking “is TripAdvisor legit?” A global company with an enviable reputation to uphold, it simply isn’t in TripAdvisor’s best interests to create a dodgy program. Key stakeholders in the company will always ensure that a wealth of boxes are ticked before any new initiative sees the light of day.

That said, TripAdvisor Plus reviews from the member side have been mixed, perhaps as a consequence of outsized expectations. TripAdvisor’s marketing stated that the savings from a single stay could pay back the entire annual membership fee. This is technically true, but unlikely. Some members have also stated that they could find member-only deal prices elsewhere on the internet.

As to the properties taking part in TripAdvisor Plus, yes, the program is certainly legit. Whether it makes sense for your property to take part will depend on your circumstances and business goals.

Image representing TripAdvisor Plus

Benefits of TripAdvisor Plus to hotels

TripAdvisor Plus is a mutually beneficial program for guests and hotels, given that participating hotels will have a boosted chance of winning the bookings of members who have a very healthy appetite for travel. 

TripAdvisor states that Plus members will book further in advance, stay longer, and spend more.

So is TripAdvisor Plus worth it? Here are some benefits your hotel should see:

  • Increasing your hotel’s visibility for travellers searching in your area, including Plus members
  • Unlocking a self-rewarding system of offering more value in return for higher rankings in organic search results
  • Utilising badges to stand out from your competition
  • Enjoy a new demand channel that enables you to give more value to your guests, with a free to join model
  • Stronger customer relationships given guests will be saving money on their booking with you and you get to keep the booking data to personalise future offerings

Tripadvisor has also stated hotels in the program receive up to 20% more clicks to their property page.

Will my hotel be eligible for TripAdvisor Plus?

TripAdvisor Plus will be offered to a range of accommodation types and sizes, including small independent hotels, chains, and resorts. Initial acceptance will rely on a curated process to ensure guests are getting the best experience possible and that hotels suit location, ranking, and connectivity requirements.

Properties who boast a better than average ADR and are equipped with a prepared range of additional perks to offer will likely be looked upon favourably. The baseline for hotel discounts is 10% below the lowest available online rate, though TripAdvisor may suggest up to 15% to be more competitive than OTA offers.

Connectivity is currently offered via a selection of leading hotel technology providers including SiteMinder, Roiback, WebHotelier, Derbysoft, and select GDS providers.

TripAdvisor Plus is free to join and incurs no upfront costs on your part. If you think you should be included in the program, contact TripAdvisor or apply here.

Why SiteMinder is such a valuable connection partner

SiteMinder is one of TripAdvisor’s exclusive launch partners; home to the industry’s most powerful channel manager and one of the most sophisticated connectivity ecosystems, with 35,000+ hotels achieving success with the platform.

Additionally, connecting to TripAdvisor Plus via SiteMinder’s channel manager presents a cheaper option than connection via GDS, since you would have to pay large GDS commission fees and the discount off your BAR.

SiteMinder can send rates via the Tripadvisor Plus / Instant Book connection, which is now enabled to manage a hotel’s Tripadvisor Plus rates, OR Tripadvisor Instant Booking. If a hotel on Tripadvisor Instant Booking joins Tripadvisor Plus, Tripadvisor will switch the programs.

James Bishop, senior director, global ecosystem at SiteMinder, said “there is no cost for our customers to connect to Tripadvisor Plus through SiteMinder.”

“For this reason, the launch of Tripadvisor offerings has always proven popular among our customers, from Instant Book to Reputation Pro,” Bishop said. “We see a high volume of interest among our customers upon every launch, due to the sheer strength of the Tripadvisor brand among travellers.”

Need help connecting? Contact us here for a chat or check out our channel manager now.

By Shine Colcol

Shine is the SEO and Content Manager of SiteMinder, the only software platform that unlocks the full revenue potential of hotels. With 5+ years of experience in content strategy, Shine has produced informational content across various industry topics, mostly about operations management and continuous improvement. She aims to share well-researched articles for hoteliers to discover how to optimize their time and increase room revenue.

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