private travel sales

Shhhh, It's {Semi} Private...

private sales for travel websitesBack in June we wrote about the exploding Private Travel Sales as part of our thrice-monthly Travel Trends column. At the time, it was still a newish concept with mostly early-adopter buy-in. Fast forward 8 months and this travel segment has grown like luggage on wheels and is opening a whole new set of options for the escape artist in all of us. Below are the big players.

Recommended Would I recommend flash-sale travel? Yes! I've had a great experience thus far, and the properties offered seem more interesting and hand-picked than trolling through Expedia or the like. It is prefect if you want to travel, but need a little inspiration to book. Note that most of the time, offers are for a one- to 3-month period. Don't forget to check each offer's fine-print and cancellation policies.

The Concept - You want to travel somewhere fabulous and get a good deal - Private travel sale sites offer time-sensitive, discounted rates for close-to-home & far-flung getaways - You see a deal you like, and snag it The Catch. They're private, meaning you need to join or get an invite, which I can help you out with below.

The Online Goods [join here] Part of the Gilt Group, an online private sale clothing & accessories retailer, Jettsetter offers a smattering of worldwide travel candy {aka - fabulous getaways} at discounts to their members. If you're a Gilt member you can book travel on Jetsetter, and if you're a Jetsetter member, you can buy on Gilt. I've used Jetsetter twice to book hotels and have been very really happy with both bookings. One feature I really like is how, in most cases, Jetsetter sends someone to review the property beforehand and on the sale, lists the features and drawbacks so you know what you're getting into. *PS - Jetsetter just launched 24/7, whereby you can book select properties sans flash-sale, i.e. all the time. One offer I'm currently swooning over is the Banyan Tree Samui. [join here] Ideeli is similar to the Gilt Group, offering fashion, home and beauty collections at heavy discounts. Why not add travel to the mix? Touché, they did featuring US and Mexican getaways. [join here] As a joint venture between two travel giants, Travel + Leisure magazine and Luxury Link, Vacationist delivers excellent getaways with booking features I love, like T+L destination suggestions and what's going on around town during the months sale is offered. [join here] Starting in Europe, Voyage Prive {private travel} offers invite-only, limited-time sales similar to the above sites. With 6-million members, I'd say this private travel site is getting fairly public. Each sale features a flip-through brochure and a page where you can view and book the deal. Save your time and just go straight to the viewing/booking page. [join here] Launched by the TripAdvisor Media Group in 2010, SniqueAway offers time-sensitive, flash-sales like the rest of 'em, but a few differentiating features I like are: integrated Trip Advisor reviews, Out & About suggestions and Overview with spellbinders and reminders. Logging in, I just found a $139 sale for a lake-view room at Whistler's Nita Lake Lodge {just awarded a 2011 Trip Advisor Traveller's Choice award}. I would love to stay at this property, and have heard really good feedback. [join here] Tablet hotels use an American Idol-style hotel selection. The judges do the rankings and the people decide the winner. Tablet is a group of hand-picked, tightly edited hotels in destinations all over the world. The list of these hotels is created and maintained by anonymous visits from travel experts, then reviewed by a team with "a low tolerance for boredom." In addition, hotels are also reviewed by guests, and if their rating falls below a 15 out of 20, the hotel no longer gets to compete. Tablet's private sales are limited, featuring 2 - 3 properties every few days.

Other Travel Flash-Sale Sites on our Radar [join here] Same concept to Gilt/Jettsetter and Ideeli: Rulala is a name brand flash-sale site with an added travel component. Currently, it has one offer. [join here] Following the same model as Jetsetter and Vacationist, recently launched Secret Escapes focuses its efforts on mostly Euro getaways with offers in British Pounds. One difference between this new company and Voyage Prive, is it's more difficult to get/find an invite unless you know someone who knows someone, who knows someone, which is likely part of their business plan. Interestingly, the company was started by the people behind {who was just aquired last week by EasyVoyage...not to be confused with the Easy Group offering internet, flights, cruises, car rentals, etc....} Either way, might be a good bet if you're planning some European travel.

Travel Trend :: Private Travel Sales

lux travel[trip style = luxury]

Want to stay here? Me too. Now you can for less. Here's how:

A new breed of elite travel website are making waves with luxury travel enthusiasts faster than you can say: Singapore Airlines First Class. Likened to Travel Sample Sales by Jaunted (the pop culture travel blog), these invitation-only websites are like the country clubs of online travel booking, catering to the elite, or those who want an elite getaway.

How Members-Only Travel Websites Work

  • you are invited to join (don't worry, mine got lost in the mail too, but it was found, so now I'm inviting you via the link below)
  • deals up to 40% off, or "prices too good to be public" are offered at discerning properties worldwide
  • these deals only last for a limited time (usually 5 - 7 days) and are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis
  • previews of upcoming hotel deals are sent via email (if that's your preference)

Private Travel Sale Websites [join here] - Luxury Safari/$1595 per night, Tiamo Resort/Bahamas/$630 per night [join here] - Furore Inn Resort/Italy/$260 per night, La Amada Resort/Cancun/$90 per night [join with a account, more info here] - No sales currently offered

Your Take & Mine What do you think about these sites? Are you a member? Have you stayed at any of the properties they offer?  I've already signed up and look forward to finding the perfect luxury trip style when my schedule permits.  The Vacationist's current La Amada Resort offer looks pretty tempting given the hotel's location, decor, free breakfast and wifi, and accolade from Trip Advisor Traveler's Choice Awards as the #1 Spa Hotel in the World. Whether I escape to Mexico or beyond with Jetsetter or Vacationist, stay tuned, I'll be sure to write about it!

[photo credit: vacationist/tiamo resorts]