A funny thing happened to Jetsetter on the way to the flash sale -- its retail hotel business took off.
Having introduced a retail hotel offering in late 2010, Jetsetter now says this portion of its business accounts for more than 35% of its gross bookings.
By retail hotel offering, Jetsetter means hotels which offer inventory at "full price" on an ongoing basis as opposed to discounted, time-sensitive flash sales. Jetsetter uses the merchant model in its dealings with these retail properties.
These mostly upscale hotels, most of which occasionally participate in flash sales, promote themselves at retail rates on an ongoing basis on Jetsetter and now number more than 800 properties.
Drew Patterson, Jetsetter's founder and CEO, says a retail offering was part of Jetsetter's initial vision, although flash sales were the foundation of the site and "remain the lion's share of the business."
Jetsetter's move to combine sales of discounted and fully priced properties may have a parallel of sorts in what Priceline and Hotwire did as they successfully added retail sales to their opaque hotel offerings.
It wouldn't be surprising in the future to see other deals sites adding retail offerings, as well.
"Several top destinations are selling over 30% of Jetsetter inventory at full price," Jetsetter states. "For example, Paris leads this list with 57% of room nights sold on Jetsetter at full price."
In addition to flash sales and its retail hotel business, Jetsetter also gets revenue from its Personal Travel Planning service, which undoubtedly is the smallest of its three business lines.
Patterson argues that the combination of flash sales and the retail offering enable hoteliers to segment their audience.
On the back end of things, Jetsetter says it has integrated channel manager services from ChannelDirect, EZYield, RateTiger, SynXis, HBSi and TravelClick, and about 400 properties currently use them to manage their inventory and rates on Jetsetter.