What is TripAdvisor Plus?

TripAdvisor Plus is a unique subscription service offered by TripAdvisor, designed to provide a range of benefits to both travellers and hotels. 

The service operates on a membership model, where travellers pay an annual subscription fee to gain access to exclusive discounts and perks from hotels which have opted into the programme.

For hoteliers, it presents a valuable opportunity to boost visibility, attract high-value customers, and improve overall customer satisfaction. Participation comes with no upfront fees and no extra commissions charged beyond the standard ones charged by any TripAdvisor booking. 

The only requirement of TripAdvisor Plus for hotels is that they offer a discount to all Plus members and are able to offer the value-added services. Everything else is covered by TripAdvisor.

Why should small hotels consider joining TripAdvisor Plus?

One of the biggest challenges that small hotels face today is increased competition. Airbnb and similar services have made it easy for everyday homeowners to turn a room or their holiday home into a miniature hotel, making the market more saturated than ever. Small hotels must stand out to compete.

TripAdvisor Plus is one effective way to do that. Not only do you get a badge that helps you stand out on the TripAdvisor listing, but TripAdvisor Plus has exclusive perks and discounts for guests, meaning that you have a better chance of developing customer loyalty and repeat stays. 

If you can make your small hotel a favourite for even a small number of guests that will visit you every year, that’s a guaranteed chunk of revenue that you won’t have to fight every other competitor on the market for. TripAdvisor Plus is a good way to get your foot in the door to start that relationship.

How does TripAdvisor Plus work?

TripAdvisor Plus works by offering a subscription service to travellers for exclusive rates and benefits at participating hotels. It’s an annual membership that costs travellers USD $100, though TripAdvisors notes that this cost could be saved on the first booking alone, making it an attractive option for all kinds of travellers.

For that money, guests can enjoy lower rates as well as a range of benefits and discounts such as bars or restaurant and spa vouchers with included extras like breakfast, complimentary upgrades or tickets to local attractions, flexible check-in/out times and more.

For TripAdvisor hosts, these extra perks translate into an increased ability to win the booking of ready-to-buy travellers. After all, why wouldn’t a guest prefer to stay somewhere that’s cheaper AND gets them free breakfast, as opposed to somewhere they miss out?

Once a booking is made, TripAdvisor takes on responsibility for customer service, though hotels can access customer data in full from each reservation made through the service. 

What does TripAdvisor cost you as a hotelier? 

There are no upfront costs, and no extra commissions involved—you still pay the commission TripAdvisor charges for all reservations through their system, but there’s no extra Plus commission stacked on top. 

How does TripAdvisor make money from Plus? 

This is all made possible because the service for travellers operates on a paid membership model, with customers paying an annual subscription fee to access the benefits. Only TripAdvisor Plus subscribers can see and benefit from the discount prices of hotels through the service.

The only thing that you have to do is offer a minimum 10% discount from BAR (Best Available Rate) and commit to offering value-added services (i.e. those perks mentioned earlier). If you change your mind, you can opt out and back in at any time.

Is TripAdvisor Plus worth it?

For the price of a 10% discount and TripAdvisor’s standard commission rate, you get access to Plus. But is it worth it? What are the details on the actual benefits of TripAdvisor Plus? Here’s a breakdown of the top five benefits:

1. Increased visibility

TripAdvisor Plus can significantly boost a small hotel’s visibility on the platform. Participating hotels get a higher placement on search results pages and a TripAdvisor Plus logo next to their listings, which can help them stand out from the competition.

This increased visibility can be particularly beneficial for small hotels that may otherwise struggle to compete with larger, more well-known brands. According to TripAdvisor themselves, hotels with the Plus badge get 20% more clicks to their property page.

2. Exclusive perks

The ability to offer exclusive discounts and perks to TripAdvisor Plus subscribers can lead to improved customer satisfaction. Happy customers are more likely to leave positive reviews, which can further enhance a small hotel’s reputation and attract more bookings.

3. Attract targeted audience

While the $100USD cost can be saved in the very first booking, the reality is that only frequent or dedicated travellers will likely invest in a TripAdvisor Plus subscription. As a result, your listings will now be boosted to high value guests that are more likely to stay longer, spend more and return more frequently.

4. Trust and credibility

More options for travellers means that they can be more discerning about who they choose to stay with. TripAdvisor Plus hotels gain access to a special badge next to their listings, which helps them stand out from those who don’t participate. As a small hotel owner, this mark of credibility can be the difference between a booking with you and a booking with a well-known brand.

5. Access to customer data

Third-party platforms can help your business with visibility, but you don’t often get the customer demographics data and other analytics that would make it easier for you to optimise your listings and your offerings. TripAdvisor Plus is the exception, and gives you access to the same customer data that TripAdvisor themselves gather.

This is useful, but does still require some analysis; if you find yourself in need of more robust information about your guests, their stay, and your business in general, TripAdvisor’s insights are best combined with Little Hotelier’s own analytics and reports.

How to maximise TripAdvisor Plus

Using TripAdvisor Plus isn’t just a case of set and forget. Maximum returns require maximum effort – here are 3 tips you should follow to ensure that you continue to get the most possible efficiency out of your investment in Plus:

  1. Ensure that you have enticing perks available. Traveller rewards are funded by TripAdvisor themselves. These are those benefits like free breakfasts, room upgrades, welcome gifts, and so on. You still get paid to provide them, but you must ensure that you have them to provide and that they are enticing enough that a guest will book with you, rather than your competitor who is also a TripAdvisor Plus member.
  2. Opt in and out as occupancy rates change. If you find that you’re getting a bulk batch of guests and don’t have the capacity or the need to lean on TripAdvisor Plus bookings, you can opt out at any time to avoid discounting when you don’t need to.
  3. Optimise your TripAdvisor listings. TripAdvisor Plus may help you rank better in organic search, but you can’t get complacent. It is available to many hotels, and chances are, at least one of your competitors is using it too. Ensure that your listing pages are up-to-date, accurate, and provide the best first impression of your property and what it has to offer.

By Shine Colcol

Shine is the SEO and Content Manager of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. With more than five years of experience and expertise in content strategy, creation, and management, Shine has produced informational content across various topics, mostly around improving daily operations and increasing business metrics. She aims to share well-researched articles in hopes of helping bed and breakfast owner-operators win more bookings and gain more control of their small property.