Jetsetter Purchased By TripAdvisor, What Does This Mean For Flash Sales And Travel?

Flash sale site Gilt Groupe has unloaded its lagging travel brand Jetsetter, which was quickly snapped up by TripAdvisor, news outlets reported this week.

Despite offering a well-respected reputation in the industry for decent flash sale deals for consumers interested in luxury travel experiences and recent advancements in its mobile application with tonight-only deals, Jetsetter has not been a strong revenue driver for the company, with some estimates putting the site as low as 10% of the Gilt Groupe’s overall revenue. In recent months, the site was losing as much as $2 million annually, Skift estimated.

This isn’t a shock – the founder and CEO of Jetsetter, Drew Patterson, was fired stepped down last year. He is now running another travel start up, Room 77.

This isn’t, of course, indicative that Gilt Groupe, which primarily deals with fashion, had a lack of experience in the travel space. The company CEO, Michelle Peluso, was the former CEO at Travelocity.

TripAdvisor announced on Tuesday that it was purchasing the site for an undisclosed amount, although rumor has it that the site was on the market for somewhere between $30 and $50 million.

“Jetsetter is an outstanding brand and I am absolutely delighted to welcome the Jetsetter team to the TripAdvisor family,” said Steve Kaufer, co-founder and CEO TripAdvisor, Inc. in a release. “We are excited by the opportunities this provides to continually help drive amazing value for our travelers staying at some of the world’s most highly-rated hotels.”

What will this mean for travelers? We’re not sure. TripAdvisor also owns SniqueAway, another high-end flash sale site that some would consider a competitor. The merging of the two sites could mean a stronger product, or less market competition overall. We’ll be eager to see which of the two brands remains after a few months, and if this signals the beginning of the end for the flash sale boom for travel, particularly as companies like Living Social and Groupon have reported struggles over recent months.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a note in the comments below.

[Image Credit: Jetsetter]

Flash Sale Buzz: Jetsetter Launches Jetsetter Now, A Same-Day Booking Platform

Luxury flash sale website launched a same-day hotel product this morning, dubbed Jetsetter Now.

Offering discounts of up to 60% off standard rates, the hotel deals will be available in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco to start.

Utilizing a similar concept to HotelTonight, Jetsetter Now offers deep discounts beginning at noon each day. A limited number of hotel rooms in each category are available, but booking, similar to Jetsetter’s “mystery” sales, is opaque, meaning that travelers will know if the hotel is “hip” or “contemporary” but not where exactly it is located or what its name is.

To participate, the hotels must already be Jetsetter-verified (meaning that an editor has personally visited and reviewed the property) and have a member review rating of 85% or above. If available, guests can book up to four nights through the app at a special rate.

Inventory will display as available or “sold out” as hotel rooms are booked. Like Travelocity’s, payment can be completed by scanning your credit card and the app is fully Passbook integrated.

Rob Deeming, general manager, spoke to us yesterday about the application, discussing how it is a logical extension of the brand, where travelers are excited to book verified and reviewed inventory at a reduced price, but are often frustrated that their counterparts offer only two to four-star “mystery” hotels.

He doesn’t worry that the mysterious nature of hotels booked will bother travelers, as he says many are already flocking to the site’s existing mystery flash sales. The opaque nature of the booking process encourages luxury hoteliers to share their unused inventory with Jetsetter, he explains, because they are often reluctant to showcase a discounted rate for fear that travelers will grow accustomed to waiting until the last minute to book.

In our trial case, we “booked” into the Surrey, an upscale uptown hotel that can charge upwards of $1,000 for a one-night stay. Through Jetsetter Now, the price was just $290 per night.

We also loved the scan and go credit card feature, which made booking simple while on the go.

What do you think? Will this new development spur you to book a last minute escape? The application is free in the app store for iPhone and iPod touch.

March Madness: Jetsetter offers luxury hotel packages and ticket offerings for NCAA tournament

Get excited, sports fans. Jetsetter has just launched a series of NCAA Men’s Basketball themed ticket and hotel packages for the 2012 “March Madness” championship series. The flash sale travel site often offers one-of-a-kind ticket and experience packages for events like the Superbowl and Kentucky Derby. This basketball offering is no exception, with deals including:

  • Packages to each of the Second, Third, Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight rounds. Each package includes two game tickets and a two-night hotel stay in the city of play. Prices vary by city and date and range from $800-$1,350.
  • Four VIP Packs to the Final Four and Championship games, each of which includes two tickets to each of the games in New Orleans (total of three games), a four-night stay at The Ritz Carlton, dinners by acclaimed Chef John Besh and Iron Chef Marc Forgione, drinks from a top mixologist at Club 44, and a meal with a coaching legend. Package is $2,995.
  • Two Final Four Ultimate VIP Packs with lower, 100-level seating at the Tournament. Also includes a $100 Jetsetter credit. Package is $3,500.

Gilt is also offering 50% off the sale of a brand new 2013 Infinity JX, a sponsor of the tournament. They’ve partnered with the Coaches Vs. Cancer organization to donate both the full retail value of the car and 100% of the ticket price for all packages sold to the charitable organization.

Luxury spring break options for the budget traveler

Do you wish you could afford to relax on a beach in the Caribbean with private butler service, or watch the sunset from the veranda of a luxury villa this spring? Thanks to Jetsetter Home‘s spring break sale, now you can.

Jetsetter Homes boasts properties all over the world, and during select dates this spring, some of their most affluent properties will be on sale. The private villas are each hand-selected, visited, and approved by Jetsetter travel correspondents, so you know the recommendations you’re getting are coming from a travel professional.

There is no fee to signup – simply go to the website and register for free.

To get some affordable, last minute vacation ideas for spring break, check out the gallery below.


Superbowl 2012 travel trends

For football fans, next weekend is the penultimate match up between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. What does that mean for travelers? Stay the heck away from Indianapolis!

Kayak just released data showing that searches from New England to Indianapolis saw an increase of 28 times the average immediately following the Pats/Ravens game. New York Giants fans accounted for a flight search increase to Indianapolis of 38 times the average.

Hotel searches for Indianapolis on January 22 were seven times the average hotel search share of the first two Sundays of the month.

Of course, that means hotels are raising prices accordingly – Staybridge Suites Indianapolis- Airport hotel is showing a rate of $312 and the Residence Inn Indianapolis Fishers is offering a rate of $179. Both are a 20 to 30-minute drive away.
Hotels up to 10 miles from the stadium are already beginning to sell out, if they haven’t done so already.

Of course, if you want to go luxe, you certainly can. Jetsetter is offering three packages for the game, which include overnight accommodations, VIP game passes and party access. Of course, the price goes along with the exclusivity – the most expensive package is $20,000 for two.


[Flickr via indywriter]