A subsidiary of TripAdvisor has launched SniqueAway.com, a new private-sale site offering special deals at hotels that earn a minimum four-star rating out of five on its review site. The site will be restricted to a limited group of members who will be allowed to invite their friends to take part in the deals.SniqueAway promises that the deals offered on its site will be offered only to those hotels that earn a minimum four-star rating classification and a minimum four out of five TripAdvisor review rating.
There’s a catch, though: the private-sale site will be restricted to a limited group of members, who will be allowed to invite their own friends to partake of the deals. The site is accepting new members, although there is a waiting list, a site spokeswoman said. Technically, the site is owned by Smarter Travel Media, which in turn is owned by TripAdvisor Media Group and by TripAdvisor LLC.
“We are letting our members decide how big the community becomes, just like we are letting the people tell us which hotels we should feature,” David Krauter, the general manager of SniqueAway, added in an email. “Occasionally, we will let folks off the wait list as well, but access is not immediately guaranteed.”
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Here is SniqueAway.com’s launch press-release:
Smarter Travel Media Partners with TripAdvisor to Launch SniqueAway Private Sale for Travel
BOSTON, September 7, 2010 – Smarter Travel Media, a TripAdvisor Media Group company, launches SniqueAway, where for the first time, private sale meets crowd sourcing approval by creating the first members-only site where each offer is endorsed by the people. All hotels featured on SniqueAway have earned a minimum four-star rating classification (exceptions apply for smaller properties without a star rating) and four out of five review ratings on TripAdvisor. Corresponding hotel reviews are shown alongside limited-time, members- only offers providing a quick view into how other travelers view the hotel making it easy to book a room before they sell out. To build membership, SniqueAway will also rely on the wisdom of the crowd to spread the news, since to be a member, one must be invited by another member. Information on alluring SniqueAway deals at deep discounts can be found at SniqueAway.com and SniqueAway.com/press.
“We‘ve watched and learned and now we‘re ready to party with the players who have proven the private sale model is a winner,‖ said Massimo De Nadai, General Manager for Smarter Travel Media.
Take it from some of the best journalists in the business, the private sale space is getting even hotter:
“Luxury hotels have long aimed for an image of exclusivity — setting prices beyond the reach of most travelers.” (Michelle Higgins, The New York Times) “If you‘re new to the private-sale game, the way it works is that you have to become a member (it‘s free) to view a website‘s sales. Once you‘re in the club, a world of hotel discounts awaits.” (Jen Leo, Los Angeles Times’ Daily Travel & Deals Blog) “They may be the ultimate tool for travelers who want to enjoy luxe for less.” (David Armstrong, TheStreet.com) “For starters, they aim for an image of exclusivity, with ̳invitation only‘ setups and a strategy of preventing their wares from showing up in search-engine results. And they amplify those elements of bargain-focused shopping that some people find fun and exciting.” (Rob Walker, The New York Times Magazine)
“A few years ago Delta Airlines offered surprise getaway fares; every week about midweek the airline would publish a list of destinations and absurdly low prices.” (Jonathan Ramsey, Luxist.com) “Over the past year or two, at least a half-dozen sites have been launched that bring the designer sample sale concept online.” (Carolyn Bigda, David Futrelle, Amanda Gengler, Ismat Sarah Mangla, and George Mannes, Money Magazine) “Visits to a custom category of 17 websites offering Online Flash Sales increased 235% year-over-year for the week ending April 24, 2010.” (Heather Dougherty, Hitwise Webblog)
“The Password is membership.” (Michelle Higgins, The New York Times) “While numerous sites swear numerous oaths about being the finest in sybaritic escapes, as is always the case in these matters, only a few have a worthy insider’s eye on luxury destinations. What’s more, some of them offer insider deals so you can do more with your time away – or maybe do less and feel better about it.” (Jonathan Ramsey, Luxist.com) “The urgency and limited quantities are supposed to stoke desire, and it’s working. Welcome to the sport of private online flash sale shopping.” (Booth Moore, Los Angeles Times) “But hurry – inventory is limited so check upcoming destinations and pick your preferred days before the sale begins.” (Ann Hynek, FOXBusiness.com)
“Hotels like the private sales, which because of the membership requirement, generally don‘t appear in online searches or aggregator sites. This helps maintain the idea of a velvet rope around the deals.” (Michelle Higgins, The New York Times) “Customers like belonging to an exclusive group, and when offered a special deal via a limited-time event, the experience becomes even more exclusive and exciting. The events only run for a limited time and each event has limited inventory, so it is first-come, first-serve.” (Adam Michelson, E-Commerce Times) “Online private sales is a growing business model that is rapidly becoming a staple of online shopping. (They) are quickly gaining millions of users each and attracting significant amounts of venture funding.” (Leena Rao, TechCrunch.com)
“It’s official! Travel ̳sample sales‘ are now a thing.” (JetSetCD, Jaunted.com) “Looking for a hot deal on a hip hotel or luxury resort? What are you waiting for — an invitation?” (Rob Lovitt, MSNBC.com)
Related Link: SniqueAway.com