Recently, I signed up for the free version of TripIt. I liked the free version enough to give the Pro option a try. The first 30 days are free anyway, so my risk was zero. Then I found out that TripIt Pro is partnering with Regus Businessworld to include a year of free access at no additional cost. For $49 a year, TripIt Pro is a great value all on its own, but I’m not trying to sell you anything. Instead, I want to look at what TripIt and Regus achieved by partnering to grow both their businesses.
Step 1: Give it away for free
The free version of TripIt does more than most casual travelers will ever need. As a result, I’m guessing most people never upgrade. I probably wouldn’t have upgraded either except that it makes tracking multiple frequent traveler accounts a breeze. Once I had upgraded, I found out how useful some of the other Pro features are. For example, once you purchase an airline ticket, they monitor fares and let you know if there is a less expensive option even with rebooking fees.
You can also enable email or SMS text message updates when you are traveling. It’s nice to get an email as your plane pulls up to the gate letting you know at which gate your connecting flight will be and if it’s on time or delayed. Remember, I was able to experience all the Pro features for the first 30 days for free. Hopefully, you are starting to see a pattern here. When your product is good and useful, giving it away for a reasonable period of time can be a great sales strategy.
Step 2: Partnering to help you both grow
During the TripIt Pro sign-up process, I noticed that I could get a one-year Gold membership to Regus Businessworld at no additional cost. Instead of paying $600 for a year of access to hundreds of Businessworld centers, I can try the concept out for a year. I’ve visited a few of the centers and find them more conducive to work from than a coffee shop. I also have the ability to rent offices and conferences rooms all over the country as you need them for a hour of a day at a time.
How smart it was of Regus to give away a year membership to people signing up for TripIt Pro. Road warriors understand the value of TripIt Pro and how difficult it can be to work from coffee shops between meetings and appointments.
Step 3: Can your product or service stand up to a free trial?
First, TripIt let me try the additional Pro services for a month before committing to spend the $49. Then they sweetened the deal with a year of access to Regus Businessworld. It’s quite a one-two punch that’s hard to walk away from once you understand the full value of the offering.
What’s a free year if the person sees the value of your product after three visits? Could your product/service stand the test of giving it away for a year in hopes of folks being so impressed that they will pony up $600 a year to keep working with you?
Interestingly, we are doing something very similar with one of our ColorMetrix products and a marketing partner much larger than us. Just as TripIt gains credibility through their association with a Berkshire-Hathway company, ColorMetrix will gain credibility through association with a much larger trading partner distributing our product for a free 90-day trial.