Last Update: March 19, 2012
More flash sale sites focused on travel & hotels every dayHow easy is it to start a flash sales site or private sale site focused on travel? Pretty easy, apparently. Let's see how many of these flash sale travel sites are still around in two years as:
- Consumers get burned out on too many daily deal emails in their inbox
- The economy improves and the lowest deals with their accompanying restrictions aren't sought after quite as much
- Hotels and travel suppliers find that dealing with some of these companies just isn't good business.
What's the difference between Flash Sale and Private Sale you ask? A 'private sale' means membership is exclusive - you to be member to get access to see the deals. Membership can be exclusive where you need to get an invitation from the site or from a friend, or it can be open where anyone can join by filling in a form.
A flash sale is a limited-time sale with limited inventory that can get sold out. But access to see the sale isn't necessarily restricted - some sites are open, some are members-only. Private sale sites are generally flash sale sites, but not the reverse.
This is a definitive list of flash sale and private-sale travel sites, and the list is continuously appended as I find more (I'll add a date next to new additions). I might even write more about each as time permits. The list is split between travel-only sites and sites that also sell goods and products as their primary business.
Top Travel Private Sale / Flash Sale Websites (dedicated to travel)
- Vacationist - private sale site focused on luxury hotels - both domestic and international - that has exclusive membership and isn't open to the general public. Vacationist is a joint venture between Travel+Leisure and Luxury Link and is by far my favorite.
- TravelZoo - the original flash sale, these guys have been sending lists of 'curated' deals (paid for by vendors) out since the 90's. They don't have exclusive offers, but rather connect consumers directly to suppliers.
- Jetsetter - flash sale site focused on upscale travel, owned by the Gilt Groupe
- SniqueAway - part of the TripAdvisior / Expedia group, this flash site offers more local, drivable US destinations.
- Voyage Privé - division of the largest travel private sale company in Europe, based in France. Now growing their membership in the US. Now partnered with Ideeli.
- TripAlertz - members-only travel site where prices go down as bookings go up. "Groupon for Travel"
- Tablet Hotels - some nice upscale and trendy properties, but prices aren't super discounted. More hip than substantial.
- Overstock Vacations - with text big enough for a senior to read without glasses, Overstock's vacations and prices are visible to the public.
- Off&Away - Private Sales, launched July 2010. Discounts of up to 50%. Fewer sales each week (3-5), thin descriptions of the hotel - very focused on booking. Calendar looks like Vacationist. (updated 7/10/2011)
- Itinerie - a specialized site that offers savings on customizable luxury vacations in South America. Good looking site, complete tour packages - not just hotels.
- Travesse - another 'me too' private travel site with "luxury" hotels and holidays focused on UK residents.
- Trazzler - a website trying to be a bit more hip and social, they provide info as well as deals. Membership required only to book.
- Trippo - exclusive getaways, half the price. With a hippo as a mascot, doesn't look too upscale, but hasn't quite launched yet. UPDATE 3/12/2012 - looks like this company is no longer. It ends before it begins.
- Yuupon - seem to be positioning themselves like the Walmart of flash travel. Downscale accommodations in all areas of the US. Anyone can see prices, anyone can book. I'm sure this will do well, but I'll never use it. Just like Walmart.
- Trippr - it was coming from Tippr, but haven't seen anything yet. Tippr requires a minimum number of buyers in a local market to 'unlock' a deal.
- HotelTonight - not quite a flash sale, but a way to book highly discounted last minute travel on your mobile. You need to download their app. Perfect for road warriors without admins, or people stranded in airports.
- InsiderTrips - Out of Business. This site is now for sale - whatever traffic they have goes to the best offer. (update: June 23, 2011).
- HotelYo - my favorite name so far, yo. No, not really. They say discounts of up to 80% on 4- and 5-star hotels, for UK and Italian customers.
- SecretEscapes - discounts of up to 70% off each week, focused on UK customers.
- Vamoose.in - travel for people on the Indian sub-continent. Prices public and in rupees.
- Spire - NEW! (June 23, 2011) Travel flash sale site, run by the people behind Perfect Escapes and Travel Intelligence. According to them: guaranteed lowest prices with a minimum of 30% off prices found than anywhere else. Also allow cancellations for up to 72 hours after a trip is booked, minus a $29 fee.
- Orbitz Insider Steals NEW! (June 27, 20011) is the latest in travel sales, you need to register your email address in a normal Orbitz account to sign up.
- CheapTickets.com Members Only Prices launched weekly (not daily) members-only flash sales. Not separate from normal registration.
- Travelocity Dashing Deals NEW! (August 29, 2011). Discounted hotel rooms shown on the Travelocity website. Big differentiator: not a voucher, but actually like a travel flash sale.
- e-booking.com NEW! (November 22, 2011) A Swiss private sale travel company stating savings of "up to 40% off" and no notable features, we're guessing this site won't last very long.
- Andrew Harper Private Sale. NEW! (January 9, 2012) Members-only discounts on luxury hotels, an add on to the company's members-only luxury travel auctions.
- ThailandFastDeals.com NEW (March 1, 2012) started by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, this site offers hotels as well as flights and tour packages through Thailand’s travel partners. It also makes all pricing visible without registration, so it’s not a members-only site, just a clearinghouse for deals. The first destination-focused private or flash sale site I've seen.
- TravelTipping NEW( March 2, 2012) has a simple email-only registration, so it’s vaguely private (and they don't seem to send too many emails). Prices “up to 75% off” hotels, resorts, villas, tours and cruises - this is not a room-night-only service but sells multi-day vacations.
Top Flash Sale Sites (with a travel component / brand)
- Living Social Escapes - moderately priced, upscale hotels, part of the growing Living Social kingdom.
- Groupon Getaways - Groupon announced a partnership with Expedia, we're waiting for this one to launch in July. It could be big, most likely it will continue to fuel the revenue growth in ponzi-scheme-like style for the daily deal 8,000 ton monster.
- HauteLook Getaways - acquired Bonvoyou then was acquired by Nordstrom. Not sure if travel is key for Nordstrom, we'll see what happens.
- Ideeli Travel - created a new division with partner Voyage Privé, launched today: "Up to 100 of the most-wanted domestic and international destinations each month, all at ideeli members-only pricing of 30% to 75% off" (Updated: June 21, 2011)
- exclusively.in - for residents of India, offers both travel and consumer products (and saris).
- Bloomspot Travel - more local deals, with some decent upscale hotels
- Rue La La - partnered with the Virtuouso luxury travel agency to provide travel deals next to their designer fashion products.
- Facebook Travel Deals - no, not quite yet, but it's just a matter of time until they add travel as a category to their new Deals section. (Update, 3/12) - still no travel.
- Mamapedia - a site focused on, you guessed it, Moms! Hotel deals are part of the everyday mix of goods.
- FamilyFinds - another Mom focused site, with lots of local deals & some actually great travel deals designed for families.
- Zozi - local deal site focused on activities, not products, with a travel section. One of the only sites with a money-back guarantee. Most others are no-refund deals.
- Vaniti - not yet launched, but coming in "2012". I'll keep an eye out.
Your site not listed here? Let me know.