Hotel auction site Off & Away got into the private sales arena and if you use a Facebook widget to "like" the property when previewing a private sale, you get 24 hours' early access.
So, if you are a registered member and select the "Private sales" tab on the homepage, click on a "preview sale" link for an upcoming sale and then give the property a Facebook "like," you'll get access to the private sale 24 hours earlier than the rest of the pack, Off & Away says.
In theory, because some of these sales sell out, you'll have an advantage if you can take a look earlier than other would-be travelers.
Off & Away claims consumers can find up to 50% discounts on luxury hotels.
Off & Away is only the latest online travel company to launch a flash sales hotel product. Orbitz and sister company CheapTickets entered the field this week, as well, for instance.
Launched in May 2010, Off & Away is in the somewhat controversial auction business where consumers purchase packs of bids in an attempt to win a hotel stay at an upscale property. Every time a consumer bids, the auction period gets longer until there is one winner.
The new private sales product is integrated with the auctions in the sense that if you spent $50 to bid in an auction and were unsuccessful, then you get a $50 credit to use in a private sale. Alternately, you can use that $50 credit to purchase a hotel stay in a traditional way on the site.
"Those travelers that weren't interested in bidding before can now get great deals and for our loyal bidding travelers they now have even more selection at even better rates on which they can spend their Book Now [auction] credits," says CEO Doug Aley.
Aley argues that the early access via Facebook "likes," the integrate with the auctions and credits for both members and invited friends when the newbies book on the site are enough to differentiate Off & Away private sales from the ever-growing legions of competitors.
"We're well aware that we're entering a crowded space with private sales and we didn't do so lightly," Aley says. "We're bringing the same level of hotel curation that we've always brought, along with amazing customer value (up to 50% off), and a few new innovations."