Oyster hotel review site fires staff and hopes for asset sale


Jun 12, 2013 12:03 pm

Skift Take

Axing the staff doesn’t bode particularly well for a sale of Oyster.com, which many people said from its beginnings didn’t have a viable business model. A expensive experiment, with Oyster’s professionally written reviews taking precedence over hotels’ marketing drivel, has all come to this.

— Dennis Schaal

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Oyster fired most of its staff, and is hoping to hang on with lower overhead costs until it can find a white-knight buyer.

Skift broke the news June 1 that the hotel review site had put itself up for sale, and ValleyWag reported today that Oyster had fired most of the edit staff.

A handful of people are believed to remain at Oyster, which is using freelance journalists to maintain skeletal review-writing services.

The hope over at Oyster is that a large media company with an existing audience will swoop in to rescue the company. The thinking is that the staff cuts had to take place to keep the business functioning in the interim.

As reported in the June 1 Skift story, USA Today, with its joint venture in hotel review site HotelMe, would be a logical candidate, although USA Today has been engaged in staff trims of its own.

Oyster management plans to continue to run the business, relying on freelancers, until the company can find a buyer.

It may, though, be too little, too late.

Founded in 2008, Oyster raised more $18.4 million in funding from the Travel ChannelBain Capital Ventures and Accelerator Ventures.



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