Jetsetter Knocks on HomeAway’s Door by Adding Vacation Homes for Rent

Jetsetter, the upscale travel site associated with the Gilt Groupe, is trespassing on HomeAway’s turf by entering the vacation home rental business.

As with Jetsetter’s other travel offers, the inventory will target the high end, offering properties ranging from a five-bedroom house in Crete for $310 per night to a palatial 14-bedroom mansion on a private Caribbean island for $53,000 per night.

To date, the New York-based company has focused on selling discounted hotel rooms and other accommodations in exotic places around the world for a short period, or until inventory runs out. It shares the flash sales model with Gilt, its parent company, which is focused mostly on apparel and related items.

With this latest endeavor, Jetsetter will focus on renting out vacation homes owned by individuals, who might otherwise find vacationers through sites such as HomeAway.

HomeAway is one of the dominant players in the space, owning several Internet domains, and is now valued at close to $3.3 billion after going public this summer. But others also dabble in all sorts of niches in the space, including Craigslist and Airbnb, which lets owners rent out rooms in their homes to travelers and just launched longer-term rentals.

Jetsetter will add its own twist by picking five to 10 homes to feature each week and mark down by 20 to 50 percent off.

To start, it will have an inventory of more than 200 homes, which will be available in locations such as the Caribbean, Mexico, California, France and Italy.

Jetsetter will also act as the intermediary, keeping track of when the homes are available, taking photos and getting travel writers to craft unbiased descriptions of the properties, so that renters know exactly what they will be getting into. Jetsetter will also accept the payment.

This is in contrast to other rental sites, which simply connect travelers to property owners, who may or may not respond to inquiries or keep their calendars up to date. Payment is usually sent in the form of a check.

With this approach, there’s no room for haggling, or any awkward chitchats among strangers or surprises when you show up and get the keys — in other words, it’s oh so civilized.

In a release, Drew Patterson, Jetsetter founder and CEO, explained: “As anyone who has researched and booked a vacation home knows, the process is archaic and time consuming compared to hotels, flights and rental cars.”

A couple of other examples to drool over:

  • La Maison Blanche in the Loire Valley starts at $1,430 per night for five bedrooms.
  • Villa Encantada in Costa Rica starts at $700 per night for four bedrooms.
  • Villa Mariposa in Mexico has two bedrooms for $280 per night, while Casa Theodore in Mexico is $1,800 per night for nine bedrooms.

For a limited time, Jetsetter will offer all of the homes for 10 percent off.

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