Today, we dive deep into subscription travel. Plus, our team plays a game of Overrated/Underrated to decide if open-office layouts are the way to go, or if classic cubicle life is best for productivity purposes.
Today's top subscription news
You guessed it: more from WeWork
We’ve covered WeWork ad nauseam, so why stop now?
We’re hearing some WeWork board members want CEO Adam Neumann ousted. According to the Wall Street Journal, a block of WeWork directors plans to push Neumann to step down as CEO after a rough week—during which his eccentric behavior and drug use came to light and the startup delayed its stock-market listing.
Among those hoping to remove him as chief exec. are officials linked to the SoftBank Group (the biggest investors in WeWork). And Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cited WeWork's transition to the public market as a potential risk for everyday investors.
"If you invested in WeWork thinking that it had a valuation of $47 billion, you're getting fleeced," she said.
Facebook unleashes a $149 Portal TV—a streaming device that interestingly enough does not include the Netflix app. The drop of Portal TV looks like Facebook's attempt at taking over your television with video calling, AR gaming, and content co-watching. The new Portal TV lets you hang out with friends on your home’s biggest screen with something dubbed "Watch Together."
"The Portal TV is a genius way for Facebook to make its hardware both cheaper yet more immersive by co-opting a screen you already own and have given a space in your life, thereby leapfrogging smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home." - Josh Constine, TechCrunch
Worried about privacy? Facebook's got you covered with a dongle you can slide to block the camera.
Put your Guard up
Also in the privacy realm, we’ve spotted a tool called Guard—artificial intelligence that reads privacy policies for you and spots the threats in them.
A subscription for the makers
Music Vine announces it will launch a subscription-based model next month. Currently, Music Vine offers music on a track basis with prices ranging from $10 to $1,000 per track.
This new subscription plan will change Music Vine’s pricing immensely. Its subscription model has two plans: The "Pro Lite" at $19.99 monthly and "Pro Standard" at $35.99 monthly.
The lite plan is meant for small-scale productions such as corporate videos, wedding films, content marketing, and small-budget indie films. The Standard plan offers broader clearance for marketing, advertising, entertainment, and informative content.
In addition to these two Pro plans, there will be Creator plans, specifically designed for YouTubers, personal social media, and other creator platforms. These plans will cost $13.99 and $19.99 per month respectively.
Subscribed to customer success
The Zuora team drops the latest episode of their Subscribed podcast, featuring an interview with Krista Anderson-Copperman, Chief Customer Officer at Okta. She highlights the importance of customer success as a core subscription company value, and the challenges of scaling teams to meet growth needs. Anderson has more than 18 years' experience under her belt; prior to joining Okta, she served as SVP, Customers for Life, at Salesforce.
The rise in customer success focus—whether you agree or disagree with its value—has us intrigued to hear Krista’s take on what it means to be a CCO in the space today.
A subscription takeover in travel
We’ve seen subscription retail dominate the space—as we covered in our August 26th episode of Recur Now—with the drop of Nike’s sneaker-as-a-service subscription shoe service, dubbed Nike Adventure Club, and Banana Republic’s launch of Style Passport.
Now, subscription is running rampant in travel—and Inspirato Founder & CEO Brent Handler predicts the model will spur followers in luxury travel, Skift reports.
This summer, Inspirato introduced an all-you-can-travel subscription membership, which Handler dubs the most expensive subscription model on the market. The Inspirato Pass runs you a whopping $2,500 a month and subscribers must sign up for a minimum of six months. It’s a first of its kind, not only for the travel industry, but for the luxury sector as a whole, Handler claims.
Laura Powell at Skift says introducing a subscription model to the travel industry could lead to a transformation in the way companies sell their products. On the other hand, though, it could pose a challenge in getting travelers to lock themselves into one brand over a period of time—unless, of course, there is an attractive perceived value.
Inspirato offers pass holders “packages” consisting of room nights at either four-star-plus hotels or at its vacation rentals. A package may be two nights at a five-star hotel in Chicago or four nights at a luxury home in Aspen. Regardless, the price will not be listed.
The opaque nature of the pricing is the key to the system. It allows high-end properties the opportunity to off load excessive inventory without sacrificing rate integrity. Meanwhile, the consumer perceives value and Inspirato, due to the rates negotiated with hotel companies, can theoretically make a profit.
Excess inventory, notes Handler, does not necessarily mean distressed inventory. “Of the inventory being consumed by passholders, less than five percent is spoilable or distressed. It’s just that hotels and Inspirato almost never fully sell out. So, it’s a utilization boost.”
The subscription model is bleeding into all markets across the board, so it only makes sense that travel is next on the list. As we’ve said before, it’s tricky to think of an industry that has not been touched by this new way of business—from entertainment to retail, travel and beyond—but what’s next for subscription?
Is there an industry that will shock you when it inevitably dives deep into this progressive model? Some say subscription is the way of the future... we can attest—it’s the way of now.
Overrated/Underrated is a game in which players deem debate-worthy items as they see fit. From freemium and free trials to the cannabis company boom, no topic is off the table. In today's segment, we discuss the value (or lack thereof) of an open-office layout.
And that’s a wrap for your September 24th subscription news. Recruit your friends into the subscription know by sending them to recurnow.com to sign up for episodes on the daily.