New site adds traveler reviews to private sale experience

TripAdvisor-owned Smarter Travel Media has launched its own private sale site, following in the footsteps of Kayak and Travelocity.

SniqueAway promises to combine the exclusivity of a private sale with crowd-sourced approval courtesy of TripAdvisor, mandating that all properties featured must have earned four or five out of five stars from customer reviews.

Hotel reviews are shown alongside limited-time offers available only to members and like other such sites, sign-up is by invitation only - members who invite friends who subsequently book receive $25 (€19.60) credit towards a trip.

TripAdvisor admits that it's fairly late to the party, with American Express, Travelocity and Kayak all launching their own members-only sale sites earlier this year, but says that's no problem.

"We've watched and learned and now we're ready to party with the players who have proven the private sale model to be a winner," said Massimo De Nadai, general manager for Smarter Travel Media.

Private sales sites, with an air of exclusivity and excellent discounts for those in the know, have been gaining popularity in recent years, and the use of TripAdvisor ratings is likely to make SniqueAway a useful source for both offers and travel advice.

Earlier this year, a survey by Ypartnership suggested that flash selling- the practice of advertising available space to a select few for a limited time only - was rapidly gaining in popularity, especially with high-income households.