If you've ever wanted to travel a bit over your usual level, take a look at the emerging new "private sale" marketplace. Here, up-market hotels, resorts, and occasional cruise lines quietly advertise special deals that never find exposure on either their own sites or the mainline search sites. You aren't likely to find a special deal if you've already decided where and when you want to travel. Instead, the idea is to offer something good enough -- at a good enough price -- to entice you into a trip you hadn't previously planned.
Although this niche market has only a few current players, giant hotel-review site TripAdvisor has just announced entry, and you can expect others to follow. As I've examined offerings, some of the deals are quite good and not generally available elsewhere.
Probably the current market leader -- focuses on hotels, resorts, and rental "villas," but with only a handful of listings at any one time. Typically, the purchase "window" is as short as a few days, but sale prices can be valid for travel over a period of several months. Generally, prices range from good to great. As I'm writing this, the two offers are the Shorebreak,
Typically offers a very few travel offers among its regular listings for high-end clothing and "fashion" merchandise. RueLaLa's current bulletin shows two travel packages: a deluxe room and spa package at the
A partnership of
Is the latest entry from TripAdvisor by way of its SmarterTravel subsidiary. So far, the site doesn't post any rates, but actual deals should be online as of
These private sale sites operate on a "membership" basis; they charge no fees, but you have to "register" to get access. Don't ask me why -- the inscrutable marketing mavens decide these things. In some cases, you can join immediately; others accept your "application" and notify you later. And most urge existing members to invite others into the system. Although SinqueAway also operates as a membership, you can get immediate access through my invitation by logging onto www.sniqueaway.com/invite/EdPerkins.
Tablet Hotels (www.tablethotels.com/)
Is similar but a bit different. It maintains a larger inventory of accommodations than the private sale sites, but not all of its listings are really good deals. It requires no "membership."
One of the leading travel search sites, offers a few "private sale" deals through its usual search system. It also plans to incorporate other sites' private sale deals into its searches, so that you find those deals along with whatever else might be available when you check a destination. Keep watching this interesting evolution.
Private sale sites are certainly not the only places you find some really good deals on hotel accommodations. Hotwire and Priceline, the big opaque sites, can do at least as well and often better, especially in the budget and mid-price ranges.
Overall, JetSetter, RueLaLa, SniqueAway, and Vacationist post too few listings at any given time to offer any reasonable chance of finding an accommodation where and when you want it. Instead, they're places to check for deals good enough to entice you to take an unplanned quick trip.
Recent Vacation Ideas & Travel Destinations
- Munich: Metropolis with Small-Town Charm
- Grown Ups Have as Much Fun Aboard Disney Magic as Kids
- Coping with Europe's 'Season of Strikes'
- 'Private Sale' Sites: Deals on Luxury Hotels and Cruises
- 7 Clauses to Beware of in Your Cruise Contract
- Glamour Camping
- Flying? Get on the Web
- Glamour Camping
- Spain: Parties and Processions in Andalucia
- London: Taming London in a Week
- Taking the Kids to Mesa Verde National Park
- Fall Vacation Travel: A Great Season
- Airfare Searches: Know the Right Places
- 'Tax Free' Airport Stores: Bargain or Hype?
- Organize a Tour and Travel for 'Free' But with Strings
- Oh No You Didn't! 5 Ways Travelers Have Lost Their Manners
- Travel Complaints That Fail: 5 Kinds of Emails You Should Never Write
- Air Travelers Let Your Voices Be Heard
- Car Rentals: You Missed the Scratch on the Roof
- Hey, What Happened to My Internet Connection?
- Taking the Kids RVing in Colorado
- Taking the Kids to Nantucket
- Praying and Partying in the Streets of Istanbul
- Revenge of the Hotel Clerks: Things They Do to Difficult Guests
- Sorry We Forgot About That $500 Change Fee
- Beware of Tour Operator 'Savings' Claims
- New Vacation Rental and Hotel Options
- Steven Slater Airline Meltdown Hardly a Surprise
Taking the Kids to Boston
Time Traveling Back in History in Boston
- Stockholm's Island Getaways
- Shorter Vacations? Tighter Budgets? Welcome to the New 'Normal' in Travel
- Do You Really Want to Take Your Pets Along?
- Travel Taxes: Bad, Getting Worse
- What to Pack for a Weekend Getaway
- Rambling Through the Ruins of Europe's Castles
- Taking the Kids to NYC for the First Time
- Eco-Friendly Camping is About Putting Nature First
- Take a Magical History Tour
- Fall Travel Bargains Will Abound and Here's Where to Find Them
- If It's Called Secure Flight, Why Do I Feel So Insecure?
- Using Opaque Travel Web Sites Effectively
- Eldergadget: Creative or Condescending?
- Taking the Kids Aboard the Newest Megaship Epic
- 6 Tips for Taking a Summer 'Daycation'
- Ticket? Check. Bag? Check. Insurance? Pre-check
- Warning: Tour Operators Can Still Fail
- Go Camping and Bring the Kids
- On-the-road Rx: Family Vacation Safety Tips
- Communing with Nature in Austria's Hallstatt
- Barefoot in Venice Italy
- 5 Beach Safety Tips
- How Much Should We Tip These Days?
- Advance Baggage Shipment: Does it Make Any Sense
- Airline Passengers Get Chance to Be Heard on Proposed Regulations
- Best 'Value' Destination Cities
- One-Sided Cruise Contracts
- 4 Things You Should Take -- and Leave -- When You Travel
- Outwitting Hotels' Maximum Occupancy Rules
- Taking the Kids to Theme Parks This Summer
- Taking the Kids to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Another Kind of Travel Plastic
- Airline Tickets: How Much Will They Really Cost?
- Traveling Light: Healthy Eating for Business Junketeers
- Planning Family Summer Vacations on a Budget
- Taking the Kids To the Caribbean in Summer
- Taking the Kids To Lake Placid
- Lisbon: Portugal's Salty Capital
- Irish Soul Music
- More Than Ever Gulf Needs Tourists to Swim Against the Tide
- Airline Alliances: Benefit or Plague?
- Travelers Be Wary of 'Data Passing' Online
- Car Rental Craziness: 6 Odd Rules and How to Steer Clear of Them
- Flying to Europe? It Pays to Know EU 261
- Airport Shuttles: Update 2010
- When Finding the 'Best' Airport Matters
- Airline Round-up: Re-Bundling Satisfaction
- Biking in Europe: A Bridge Over Cultural Barriers
- Verona Italy: City of Romance
- Taking the Kids To California Wine Country
- Travel in Hurricane Season
- Beware Hidden Traps in Your Travel Contract
- Crazy Cruise: 7 Absurdities of the Sea
- Lost Luggage in London Phishing Travel Scam
- What You Can Do About New Hotel Lodging Fees
- Taking the Kids To Clean Beaches and Avoiding the Oil
- Airline Fees: The $7.8 Billion Question
- New Airline Bumping Rules Less Than What They Seem
- Air Travel: Disabled or Need Help?
- Have a Healthy Vacation
- France: Basking in France's Dordogne River Valley
- How to Rent a Car in Europe
- Avoiding Cruise Port Rip-offs
- Promotions and Features -- a Summer Grab Bag
- Where the Summer Discounts Are and Are Not
- World's 'Best' Airlines -- Do You Care?
- Taking the Kids To the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
- TSA's Liquid Rules: So Long, 3-1-1?
- Rejected? Enjoy the Art, But Appeal
- Right Hotel, Wrong Room
- Vacation Rentals: 9 Things to Know
- Salzburg: An Austrian Symphony
- Taking the Kids To Cooking School
- Lessons Learned From Your Worst Travel Gaffes
- Help! My Refund is Missing in Action
- Confessions of a Frequent-Flier Program Skeptic
- Airlines Annoyances -- Can You Avoid Them?
- Frequent Flyer Payout -- Great to Lousy
- Taking the Kids to a Broadway Musical
- Tips for Traveling Solo
- How to Save on Summer Vacation Travel
- What You Can Learn From First-Time Air Travelers
- Sunscreen Facts You Need to Know
- Hotels Connect the Dots Between Guests and Online Reviews
- Putting on the Ritz in Orlando
- Airlines Unbundle then Repackage: What's the Deal?
- New Tarmac Rule: Fewer Airline Flight Delays
- Germany's Mix of Perfume Chocolate and God
- Giving Mom Best Mother's Day Present She's Ever Had
- Amtrak 2010: Sightseeing Ideas
- I Didn't Mean to Buy Travel Insurance
- Continental - United Airlines Merger: the Consumer View
- Will the United - Continental Merger Raise Airfares
- Krakow: Poland's Historic and Cultural Gem
- Europe this Summer: Mixed Bag of News
- 'Qualify' for a Fleecing?
- Forget Your Travel Agent: 4 Trips You Should Book Yourself
- I Had to Pay Twice For My Flights to Mexico
- What's Next For Airlines Paying by the Pound?
- What Parents Say About Family Vacations
- New-Style Vacation Trips Trip with the Grandparents
- Princess for a Day at Disney World
- Easter in Europe
- Where Are Cheap Round-the-World Airfares
- Premium Economy for Overseas Trips
- Healthy Hiking With Your Dog
- Taking the Kids to Bermuda
- Taking the Kids to Chile
- Too Sick to Fly? When to Put Yourself on the 'No Fly' List
- Lowest Airfare? You May Have to Connect
- Europe 2010: Pricey, But with Some Good Deals
- Totally Kidcentric and Affordable Ski Resorts
- Taking the Kids to Alaska and Meeting Some Bears
- Taking the Kids to Mohonk Mountain House
- Taking the Kids to Patagonia
- Taking the Kids - Skiing in Telluride
- Taking the Kids - Skiing this Winter without Busting the Budget
- Taking the Kids - How Snow Sports Can Transform a Child's Life
- Taking the Kids: Skiing in Austria
- Getting Up-close & Personal with Olympians
- Travel Apps for Your Smart Phone
- 6 Ways to Save: Family Vacations
(c) 2010 Ed Perkins
World-renowned chefs with an extraordinary passion for food, share that passion. They make great cooking easier than you ever imagined. Each feature includes both an expert tip and an easy recipe - exactly what you need to transform your home cooking from acceptable to delectable.
Recipes Click Here
Movie Reviews, commentary and more. Plus Trailers from movies currently in theaters and available on DVD.
Movie Reviews Click Here