Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Travel 2.0 Roundtable with Founder/CEO of Jetsetter.com Drew Patterson

The private sales model has been very successful in the fashion world, it’s only natural for other industries to consider applying it. Even their homepages all look pretty similar with a big splash picture and a sign up section.  We’ve seen
A number of larger Private Sale sites offer combination of several segments: 

We also see crossover between private sales and group sales sites: group sales site LivingSocial plays in the private sales for travel space with its Escapes section, private sales site Gilt plays in the group sales for local experience space with Gilt City.

The space is obviously super hot right now. Where is the industry going? Are there any differences in applying the same private sales model to different industries? What’s their secret for success? Travel 2.0 Meetup invited Drew Patterson, Founder and CEO of Jetsetter.com, market leader in the private sales for travel space, to talk about his founder’s story on February 8th 2011.

An industry pioneer, Drew was part of the founding team at Kayak.com where, during his five-year tenure as VP of marketing, he played an integral role in reshaping the online travel.  Prior to that, Drew cut his teeth as director of distribution and revenue management at Starwood Hotels, where he forged new distribution channels with online travel agents including Expedia and Travelocity. Drew has a BA from Harvard and MBA from Columbia.

Some of my learnings from the meetup:
  • Find the right partner when you first get started: For any web business, building the initial user base is extremely tough, Jetsetter was able to get a head start by partnering with Gilt and tap into its large member base of similar target demographic.
  • Apply great UX and design to capture consumer interest: User experience design is playing a more and more important role in consumer internet, beautiful and inspiring pictures help build user habit and encourage impulse buy.
  • Personalization is the future: Personalized experiences and recommendations is an important focus for Jetsetter, and it sounded to me that Jetsetter has more ambitions eying the entire travel vertical, instead of only the hotel segment. Considering that they've signed up 1 million users in a short year and half, I’m sure we’ll see many more exciting products coming out soon. 

If you attended the meetup, what did you find interesting from the discussions? For everyone, what do you think is the next big trend in the private sales industry?

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