Tripadvisor Is Closing Its Boston Office and Laying Off a Quarter of Its Workforce

The travel company is cutting 900 jobs worldwide.

AP Photo/Steven Senne

As the coronavirus pandemic has brought travel to a grinding halt, online travel company Tripadvisor Inc., headquartered in Needham, has announced it will cut 900 jobs worldwide and close its Boston and San Francisco offices.

In total, the company will reduce its global workforce by about 25 percent. 600 of the eliminated jobs are United States and Canada-based positions. Laid off workers will receive “transition packages,” including severance pay, outplacement support, and some health insurance continuation in the US and Canada.

CEO and co-founder Steve Kaufer revealed the details of Tripadvisor’s decision in a blog post today. In the post, Kaufer writes the pandemic has devastated the travel industry to a level he “never fathomed.”

“Sometimes, the most valiant of efforts aren’t enough to counter outside circumstances and, as a public company, it is our responsibility to adjust, adapt and evolve to the environment that surrounds us,” Kaufer wrote.

Before today, Kaufer writes, the company had already cut all but the most essential discretionary spending and furloughed workers, and Kaufer himself had declined a salary for the rest of the calendar year.

Today, in addition to the 900 layoffs, a number of workers were also placed on furlough. Kaufer writes that he hopes that the employees furloughed today and previously will be able to return to the company later this year.

As for the remaining employees, most will be asked to move to a four-day work week and take a 20 percent salary cut for three months starting in June, a move that Kaufer says protects about 100 jobs. Remaining employees from the now-shuttered Boston and San Francisco offices will continue to work remotely. The Needham Tripadvisor headquarters is also available to Boston workers, Kaufer writes.

And company-wide, Tripadvisor will be thinking about what travel will look like in a post-coronavirus world, and how the brand’s strategy should adjust to match that.

“Since mid-to-late February, COVID’s impact on the travel industry and our business has slowly revealed itself day by day,” Kaufer writes. “I never fathomed the industry I love—travel—having so many hotels at near 100% vacancy, planes grounded, and restaurants empty.”