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Despite Tripadvisor's gains with a few smaller hotel groups, the big chains aren't exactly crashing the gates to join Tripadvisor Plus. Their absence over the long term could threaten the program.

Tripadvisor signed Barceló Hotels, Millennium Hotels and Pestana Hotel Group as the first hotel groups for its new subscription service, Tripadvisor Plus, but notable for their absence are big chains such as Marriott, Hilton, Intercontinental Hotels Group, and Accor.

“Certainly we are having lots of positive conversations with many hotel groups who see the value in Tripadvisor Plus as a new way to attract high-spend, high-intent customers and reduce their per-booking spend on commission, and we are confident more will choose to participate in Tripadvisor Plus,” said James Kay on Wednesday. “Remember, we are less than a month out from the full launch of Tripadvisor Plus.”

Tripadvisor Plus already has access to tens of thousands of hotels through partnerships with Group, Getaroom, and Internova Travel, for example, but forging partnerships with major chains is a missing piece.

Major chains have been reluctant to join the program, which would enable them to display discounted inventory behind a paywall, and not have to pay Tripadvisor any commission. Although some hotel executives have been reluctant to talk publicly about their absence, among the reasons are problems with the way Tripadvisor has displayed non published rates to Tripadivisor users who are not Tripadvisor Plus subscribers, and also because they prefer direct bookings.

Only certain properties — Tripadvisor said nearly 500 — from Barceló Hotels, based in Spain, the UK’s Millennium Hotels and Portugal-headquartered Pestana Hotel Group are participating in Tripadvisor Plus.

After paying a $99 annual subscription fee, Tripadvisor Plus members get access to discounted rooms and tours, as well as a variety of perks. Tripadvisor claims most subscribers would get discounts worth more than the $99 subscription fee on their first booking.

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Tags: hotels, tripadvisor

Photo credit: Millennium's Knickerbocker hotel in Chicago. Millennium Hotels joined Tripadvisor Plus. Millennium Hotels

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