Skift Take

Tripadvisor CEO Steve Kaufer told Skift that Tripadvisor Plus is "a super-high priority for the company." The program may find enthusiasts at the property level, but so far the largest hotel chains don't appear to be leaping on board.

Series: Dennis' Online Travel Briefing

Dennis' Online Travel Briefing

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, Executive Editor and online travel rockstar Dennis Schaal will bring readers exclusive reporting and insight into the business of online travel and digital booking, and how this sector has an impact across the travel industry.

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Online Travel This Week After several months in beta, Tripadvisor’s new subscription program for travelers, Tripadvisor Plus, officially launched in the U.S. Wednesday with a little help from the company's friends — or in this case, a couple of board members. Board member Greg O’Hara, the Certares founder whose company is poised with kindred private equity firm Knighthead to take over bankrupt Hertz at the end of July, presumably played a leading role in helping to secure a year of Hertz elite status for Tripadvisor Plus subscribers. Travelers who sign up for the Tripadvisor Plus, which provides discounts and perks for hotel and tours and activities for a $99 annual fee, would be able to skip the Hertz counter, qualify for upgrades, and get access to Hertz and Dollar car rental deals. In a Skift interview Monday, Tripadvisor co-founder and CEO Steve Kaufer likewise pointed to the influence of board member Jie "Jane" Sun, CEO of China's Group, which contributed some 10,00