Jetsetter, the luxury travel site that Gilt Groupe put up for sale for around $50 million back in October, has been acquired by TripAdvisor, according to a press release published to PRNewswire. A Gilt Groupe representative confirmed the acquisition to Betabeat. Skift reported back in March that Jetsetter was close to an acquisition, most likely by the travel reviews site.
Despite New York’s recent crackdown on illegal hoteliers–which has put the tech-friendly city at odds with successful travel startups–Airbnb has continued to grow at an impressive rate. The San Francisco-based room rental company is reportedly seeking a fresh $100M round at a valuation of $2-3B, an astronomical number given the company’s run-ins with local ordinances and apartment-ruining nightmares.
But despite those minor setbacks, Airbnb has continued to see a significant uptick in travelers who opt to use its services instead of sketchy hostels or expensive hotels. One of the ways in which the company has managed to secure market dominance is by building out a robust mobile experience that caters to the immediacy necessary to on-the-go planning.
The Final Frontier
Though commercial space initiatives have a whiff of sadness about them (RIP lots of NASA funding, RIP the space craze of the ’50s), space geeks like your Betabeat reporters are excited by the prospect of making our way into outerspace however we can. And by the looks of it, every day people like you and me could soon be headed off into the ether–provided we have the massive amounts of cash to front the trip.
If you’ve ever hoped of touring Paris’s sewer system in the dead of night accompanied by a lovely French homeless man, then you and I have a slightly different definitions of the word “vacation.” But for more adventurous travelers, Vayable might be able to make your unorthodox dreams come true. The San Francisco-based travel start-up announced a few new features today, including concierge and improved international payment services.
Y Combinator-backed Vayable, which launched in April 2011 and opened an office in New York a few months later, offers over 2,500 unique travel experiences to its users in 600 cities around the world. Some special souls have used the site to spend the night on San Francisco’s former prison island –Alcatraz – while others have gone on tours of the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco guided by a homeless man.
The Way We Live Now
Good news if you’re Richard Stallman! According to a travel survey conducted by Intel, Americans are so obsessed with keeping their devices tethered to their fast-typing fingers that they’re eschewing the comforts and hygiene of modern life just to keep them charged. We call this the “Stallman Quotient”: The more you embrace technology over showering, the higher your Stallman Quotient grows. The maximum Stallman Quotient score is 10, otherwise known as “eating something from your foot while being filmed during a lecture.”
Phone No No
Virgin Atlantic already has in-flight Wifi, sweet personal entertainment systems and the ability to order alcoholic beverages from your seat’s TV screen. Now, TechCrunch reports that the company is further boosting its tech offerings by making in-flight cell phone service available for some flights between New York and London.
Today, Jetsetter, the luxury vacation deals site (think flash sales on villas in St. Vincent or a pied-à-terre in Paris) announced the appointment of its first-ever chief marketing officer, Barry Herstein. A former CMO at PayPal, American Express, and the Financial Times Group, most recently Mr. Herstein was responsible for revitalizing Snapfish, the photo sharing and printing service, after a decline in revenue growth.
(Ex-Snapfishers seemed to be everywhere these days. Former Snapfish CEO Ben Nelson recently set his sights on reimagining an Ivy League experience at half the cost.)
Betabeat chatted with Jetsetter CEO Drew Patterson about the need for a CMO, Jetsetter’s role within the Gilt Groupe family, and those pesky tech blogs.
Come And Knock On Our Door
You know Gilt Groupe is in overdrive mode when even its verticals are diversifying.
Jetsetter, the travel site Gilt Groupe founded in 2009, must have liked the looks of Airbnb’s numbers, since it just launched its own foray into the vacation home rentals market with Jetsetter Homes. As The Next Web notes, Homes starts off with collection of 200 curated and verified villas in exotic international locales. Since this is Gilt we’re talking about, the pricing is “exclusive,” with some options offered in the company’s customary flash sale style, depending on availability. Although in the case of these homes, we imagine the scarcity is more than just manufactured.