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Meet Smarter Travel Media's Newest Idea

Smarter Travel Media has entered the private sale market with a new site called SniqueAway, a members-only travel site that offers deep discounts on upscale hotels. All the properties are four- and five-star hotels and resorts, and each has at least a four-out-of-five rating on our sister site, TripAdvisor. This means you're getting classy rooms that have already passed the traveler test. The site is up and running now, and you can check out the first set of destinations that will be up for sale, though sales don't begin until September 20.

So why am I telling you now? Sometime in the next two weeks, you'll receive an email inviting you to join SniqueAway. Membership is free, and you can invite as many friends as you want. You'll even get a $25 credit when friends you've invited make their first booking. You can only join if you're invited, and this will be your invitation from Smarter Travel Media.

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(Now, just to make things abundantly clear, SniqueAway is a wholly new and separate product created by SmarterTravel's parent company, Smarter Travel Media, which is part of the TripAdvisor Media Group. Got all that?)

Personally, I think the members-only, private sale model is pretty cool. Other sites, such as Jetsetter, have already established the business model, and it works very well both for deal-hungry consumers and properties looking to unload rooms. Even more, I like the idea of adding in what the SniqueAway folks are calling the "crowdsource" aspect, meaning the hotels are pre-approved by the masses at TripAdvisor. But the proof will be in the price. I've already got my eye on the upcoming InterContinental Boston offer, and believe me, I'm as curious as anyone to see what sort of deal SniqueAway delivers. We'll find out September 20.

Readers, what do you think about the members-only, private sale approach? Have you used other private-sale travel websites?

Read comments or add your own insight!
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