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TripAdvisor cuts 900 jobs as it reduces workforce by 25 percent, closes Boston office

TripAdvisor headquarters in Needham.
TripAdvisor headquarters in Needham.The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

Needham-based TripAdvisor Inc. will cut 900 jobs worldwide and close its satellite offices in Boston and San Francisco as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc with the travel industry.

The public company said Tuesday that it is eliminating 600 jobs in the United States and Canada and 300 more in other countries as part of a 25 percent reduction in its global workforce. TripAdvisor will also put an undisclosed number of employees on furlough in the hope that they can return to work later this year.

CEO Steve Kaufer wrote in a blog post that the pandemic has forced the travel company to move beyond its initial contingency plans, which included cutting discretionary expenses and furloughs.

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“We had hoped cutting discretionary expenses and furloughs would be enough, but as the pandemic worsened, it became clear that the company needed to take additional cost saving measures,” Kaufer wrote.

He said that in most markets, remaining employees will be asked to move to a four-day work week and take a 20 percent reduction in base salary for three months starting in June — a measure he said will save close to 100 jobs.

The company plans to reduce its retail footprint, too, closing its downtown Boston and San Francisco office buildings, and allowing those employees to continue working remotely. Boston employees could also work out of company headquarters in Needham, Kaufer said.

“The last several weeks have demonstrated that we are effective working from home,” Kaufer wrote. “We have been and will continue to more fully embrace a remote work culture.”

Kaufer said TripAdvisor will be adjusting its focus to adapt to its smaller workforce and the changing travel tendencies that could arise post-pandemic.

“It’s not possible for us to do more — with fewer resources and people — without change,” Kaufer wrote. “This means we need to not only streamline how and where we work, but strategically decide where we invest our time, attention and capital.”

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Kaufer said he hopes the the company’s deep cuts mean another broad, global layoff won’t be necessary, even if recovery takes longer than expected.

In a December filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company reported that it had about 4,200 employees, 45 percent of whom were based in the United States. Even in December, long before the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the United States, TripAdvisor acknowledged the virus as a risk factor that could affect its business.

“The extent and duration of such impacts remain largely uncertain and dependent on future developments that cannot be accurately predicted at this time,” the company wrote in the filing.

Then in January, TripAdvisor reportedly laid off 200 employees due to growing competition from Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which has been launching competing travel planning features.

TripAdvisor declined to comment on how many Massachusetts employees were affected by both rounds of layoffs.

TripAdvisor joins other local travel companies that cut workers because of the pandemic’s impact on the industry, including startups Lola.com, which laid off 34 workers in March, and Hopper.

“I never fathomed the industry I love — travel — having so many hotels at near 100% vacancy, planes grounded, and restaurants empty,” he wrote. “We need to take action to ensure Tripadvisor can focus on its mission to serve travelers for years and decades to come.”

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Anissa Gardizy can be reached at anissa.gardizy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8.