As more Americans get vaccinations and states lift Covid-19 restrictions, Tripadvisor announced on Wednesday the launch of Tripadvisor Plus, a travel subscription service that gives US customers access to travel savings and other perks. The service costs $ 99 per year.
U.S. airlines have already seen a surge in summer flight bookings, and the Transportation Security Administration recently screened more than 2 million people at U.S. airports, most since the pandemic started early last year.
The increasing demand for travel also leads to higher fares. Tripadvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer attributed the trend to the industry’s struggle to hire workers fast enough to keep up with easing coronavirus restrictions.
“There is a small mismatch between supply and demand as the hotel industry bounces back and tries to hire more people to deliver the great experience that hotels and the travel community are known for,” Kaufer said in one Interview with CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street”.
Travelers should also expect that service across the industry may not be as good as usual and there will likely be long waiting times, especially at airports, Kaufer said.
“Be patient with your vacation, the lines at the airports will be a little longer, I’m worried,” he said. “Some of the service in some properties is not quite as expected, but the whole industry is really recovering.”
The company is seeing an increase in travel bookings abroad, but travelers are reluctant to book travel in countries where there is still uncertainty about travel restrictions. Tripadvisor expects bookings to pick up as these countries relax Covid restrictions on vaccinated Americans, Kaufer said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of Americans have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and the number of new infections with Covid-19 is falling every day.
In a recent survey commissioned by data provider Cirium, 78% of respondents said they will travel this year, with around 40% planning trips this summer. From May 11th to 17th, 2,140 adults were interviewed for the survey.
Tripadvisor’s new subscription service includes discounts on many tickets, tours and attractions and personalized travel tips, as well as discounted stays at more than 100,000 hotels around the world, the company said. Tripadvisor estimates the service will save members an average of $ 350 per stay, which means some members can get their annual fee back on their first trip.
Customers who sign up for the service also receive Hertz Five Star Elite status for one year, which allows them to skip the counter, earn points for free rentals, access upgrades and get priority service at many airports . The subscription will also waive the fee for young renters and provide free child car seats for subscribers.
Subscription services are popular with businesses to build customer loyalty and drive business. The hope is that once visitors to the site have signed up for the service, they will likely use Tripadvisor more often to book their trip.