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Tripadvisor Plus Program Forced To Make Significant Changes; Travel Industry Veterans Launch Spotnana; Hopper CEO Plans To Creates Travel Superapp For The West – Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment

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Tripadvisor Plus Program Forced To Make Significant Changes; Travel Industry Veterans Launch Spotnana; Hopper CEO Plans To Creates Travel Superapp For The West

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Skift’s annual Skift Global Forum, which was held this past
week, produced a number of newsworthy items for this week’s
Update. Enjoy.

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The Much Aligned Tripadvisor Plus Program
Forced to Make Significant Changes

(“Sounding Off: Tripavisor Plus Changes Show the
Complexity of Travel Plans,” September 24, 2021 via Phocus
Wire)

While the Skift Global Forum received much of the attention this
past week, the other major industry newsmaker was Tripadvisor and
its decision to make significant changes to its subscription model,
Tripadvisor Plus. For weeks now, we’ve detailed the challenges
with the program, particularly those around Tripadvisor’s
public display of its discounted member rates. For this reason,
major brands were unwilling to commit to the program. This past
week, Tripadvisor announced an abrupt change and will now feature
retail commissionable rates (gone are the member discounted rates),
but provide members a cash-back credit “roughly equal” to
the former member discount (or new commission percentage). When or
how travelers receive the credit is unclear. While the change may
make it easier for the major brands to participate (but will they,
given that the program now becomes yet another commissionable
leisure distribution channel), it isn’t clear whether the
change will increase travelers interest in the program (and
increase badly needed subscription fees). What is clear is that
Wall Street didn’t view the announced changes favorably,
cutting the company’s share price by 8 percent (a loss of $374
million in market value) on the day after the news broke.

Travel Industry Veterans Launch
Spotnana

(“Corporate Travel Startup Backed by Concur Founder
Launches With $41 Million Raised,” September 24, 2021 via
Phocus Wire)

This past week, co-founders Sarosh Waghmar (founder of TMC,
WTMC) and Shikhar Agarwal publicly revealed their new cloud-based
corporate travel platform, Spotnana. Joining Sarosh and Shikhar at
Spotnana are industry heavyweights, Steve Singh (founder and former
CEO of Concur), Greg Stanger (former CFO of Expedia and Duetto),
Bill Brindle (former COO of Amex GBT) and Johnny Thorsen (founder
of ConTgo and former executive with Amex, Travelport and others).
Spotnana hopes to not only build a new corporate booking platform,
but to offer users a complete range of corporate booking tools and
services, including supplier inventory, all based on an entirely
new stack of technology. Spotnana plans to make its technology
available to both corporate users and other travel agencies and
travel management companies.

Here Comes the Travel
Superapp

(“Hopper CEO Hopes to Create a Google-Crushing Superapp
for Travel,” September 23, 2021 via Skift Travel News)
(subscription may be required)

In a conversation this past week at the Skift Global Forum,
Hopper CEO, Frederic Lalonde, outlined his plans for creation of
western’s first travel superapp. According to Lalonde, it is
only a matter of time before the superapp trend that has taken Asia
by storm (for example, China’s Pinduoduo) makes its way west.
For Lalonde, his superapp obsession is all about reducing
consumers’ cost of travel, an objective he hopes to achieve
through a combination of content, pricing analytics, a variety of
fintech products (price freeze, buy now pay later) and virtual
currencies, all stirred with just the right amount of gamification.
When challenged as to whether western users were ready to adopt a
single travel platform, Lalonde suggested that Skift’s Dennis
Schaal check back in five years.

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