People Like Us (PLU) announced some interesting changes to its membership model yesterday. PLU is the second largest home exchange network, and the fastest growing. (It is also one of my personal favorites). Below is a summary of the changes and some thoughts on the Globes announcement.
First, PLU simplified its’ membership options: everyone must pay for a membership on an annual basis. There is no longer the option to buy two or three year subscriptions. In addition, new members can enjoy a full-access one-month free trial prior to paying. This eliminates the trail membership which came with some restrictions. But also requires people to make a decision about joining after a month.
PLU also increased the annual subscription to $149, which is on the higher end of subscription prices (see my spreadsheet for a comparison to other networks). They are allowing existing members to renew at the old $95 rate for one year. People renewing this week will have the rate locked in for the next renewal as well. And trial members have the option to join at the lower rate until December 13.
The other change relates to the distribution of Globes. PLU Globes work for non-reciprocal exchanges that allow members to bank a stay for the future. Members can offer a Globe in exchange for a non-reciprocal stay of any length. The host can then hold on to that Globe until some time in the future when they want a non-reciprocal stay with another member. Globes are considered quite valuable in the PLU community.
The PLU team is being very cautious with the introduction of new Globes into the network, trying to ensure that there are not so many that they are difficult to use, but not so few that they are impossible to acquire. The new system will give all new members a Globe, but only after they host another member for a minimum of 5 days. Existing members will also receive a Globe upon their next renewal. This should slowly trickle new Globes into the system over the next few years.
I’ve written about the challenges faced by networks offering points to members (a similar concept to Globes), particularly the dangers of a points overabundance in a network. I appreciate that PLU is taking a thoughtful approach to this issue that should optimize members’ experiences.