We're not sure that there's more of a market for flash sales now than there was in 2013, but we do know that expectations are vastly lower. And we know that Secret Escapes is now the only real player with this deal, its own site, and a similar agreement with, ironically, Jetsetter.
Jetsetter still sees value in flash sales but it is such a small part of parent company TripAdvisor's overall business that it saw value in farming out that part of the business to Secret Escapes, which focuses on flash sales 24/7.
Jetsetter is desperately trying to imitate market competitors with its new "collections" branding of participating hotels. The site may still have an identity issue, though, as it balances its flash sales offerings while trying to simultaneously become a lifestyle brand.
From its detailed hotel descriptions to its online magazine, Jetsetter is a case study in content marketing.
TripAdvisor has plenty of cash on hand, but if it is true to historical form, it will likely be seeking to continue making smallish acquisitions of struggling travel startups, such as it did with Oyster.com, on the cheap in 2014.
The TripAdvisor CFO says the company has no intent of becoming an online travel agency. But, now that TripAdvisor has introduced Kayak-like hotel metasearch, the question looms whether TripAdvisor will make a large acquisition or two instead of sticking with its traditional penchant for travel startup bargain-hunting.
TripAdvisor didn't buy Jetsetter to have it sit in the background, and the impending doom of SniqueAway is the logical next step.
Jetsetter's hotel relationships and expertise should help TripAdvisor on a variety of fronts. It remains to be seen whether TripAdvisor will eventually fold SniqueAway into the more successful Jetsetter, or go with a multi-brand strategy.
Online travel "supermarkets" Travelocity and Expedia years ago looked like winners, but hotel "specialist" Booking.com prevailed, Room 77 argues. And, it's betting that a singular focus on hotels will one day enable Room 77 to out-Kayak Kayak. It's a huge hill to climb.
For all its problems, Jetsetter is a market leader in hotel flash sales, and an acquisition at a bargain-rate sale price could help TripAdvisor inject some life into SniqueAway.