TravelSort’s reverse auction hotel sales start today

TravelSort.com, where I write a weekly column, is launching their reverse auction hotel sales today. Basically (as far as I can tell), there will be a very nice hotel up for auction every week, and it goes to the first bidder (given that it’s a reverse auction). This week it’s one night in a club room at the Ritz Carlton New York Battery Park. Next week it seems to be one night in a Park view suite at the Trump Hotel in New York.

Anyway, I’m guessing the initial response won’t be huge (after all, people are still learning about TravelSort.com), so you might be able to snag a deal here if you’re into luxury hotels. To participate, you need to become a member of TravelSort.com, buy credits (required to bid on an auction), and then bid on an auction. Detailed instructions can be found here. If you use the coupon code “Lucky” at check-out, you can receive two free credits that can be used for bidding. Unfortunately for the time being, this offer is only open to U.S. residents, excluding residents of California, Florida, Iowa, and Washington. In other words, I’m excluded! So if you don’t live in one of those states, are planning a trip to New York, and like luxury hotels, this is for you.

Comments

  1. Looks awful complicated and you need credits just to participate ? Also the only registration showing up for me is via Facebook ? Not very business friendly since we do block facebook at work.

  2. Sorry to say, Lucky, this thing is a pain. It’s blocking me from buying credits unless and until I add a photo. This is silly, particularly since I’m not really on Facebook to begin with.

  3. I tried to buy the deal, and it would not accept any of my credit cards. Got all glitchy and told me i had 60 minutes to book the deal after saying I had two minutes left. Now I’m locked out of the deal for good. Looks like they need to put a bit more work into the site. Not sure it’s worth returning to (besides to read your columns) if the deals don’t actually work.

  4. Ben, I can’t believe you’re actually associating yourself with a stupid reserves auction SCAM!!! This is not different from Dubli.com and all the other copy cat sites out there.

    Here’s how this one works, the prices go down as more people use their “credits” to enter the auction, and the prices only go down by a fraction of of the costs of the credit people have given to enter the bid. So no matter what, the website wins and the buyers lose! It is always going to be a negative sum game for who ever is dumb enough to try it!

    Shame on you Ben for trying to spread something like this, I really hope they’re not paying you to write this article

  5. Dude, you really need to be more discriminating with this stuff. Your reputation is all you have with this online stuff. If you start peddling this crap you’re going to be associated with scams, cheapness, etc.

    Sorry but your relationship with TravelSort seems to be a bad move. I’d recommend moving on from them. And I certainly hope you are being paid (why else would you publish pieces for them and hawk their wares?).

  6. Looks like a ripoff of http://www.offandaway.com … even the layout looks the same, just crappier. In my opinion, if you’re gonna do the whole bid credit thing, you’re probably better off with Off & Away, which seems more legit and a way better deal too (no, not affiliated with them). $174 for a hotel night at Travelsort isn’t hot to me.

  7. Thanks for the honest feedback, guys. First of all, I wasn’t paid a cent for this post (and I hope you guys have enough faith in me to know that I would disclose that if I were). Beyond that, my involvement with the site is limited to my weekly column there. Nonetheless, I thought it seemed like an opportunity to potentially get a bargain, which is why I shared it with readers.

    Frankly, the extent of my knowledge of “reverse auctions” is limited to a brief mention in the international business class I took about a year ago, which talked about reverse auctions in the flower markets in the Netherlands.

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding this, but I assume TravelSort plans on making a portion of their revenue from people buying “credits.” They have to pay for the hotels somehow (even if they negotiate rates with the hotel chain), so I assume it’s a combination of revenue from the credits and the actual price paid in a reverse auction. I don’t see that as being corrupt, assuming the system works properly to the extent that there’s a single winner that doesn’t have problems when entering their payment information, so that people aren’t essentially “scammed” out of credits.

    Given that this is their first auction, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that these were technical errors. Assuming they were, I don’t see anything wrong with their business model. Though if others feel differently, I’d love to hear other perspectives.

  8. Reverse auction sites like this (and to some extent the more evil ones like swoopo) work by having multiple people pay for the same discount through credits. Only one person reaps the reward of the discount while the rest lose out.

    As Sam said, the discount is most likely tied to the number of people watching the auction (using credits). And as a reverse auction, it will sell for more than their buy price anyway as people get antsy and book too early. This means travelsort probably has most, if not all, of the room covered in the final sale price if they are any kind of travel agency with a discounted rate.

    They then take a nice profit, often selling the room for two to ten times its original price depending upon how many credits were used for the auction. One person gets a good room, dozens to thousands spend money on credits and get nothing, and travelsort gets big bucks.

    Now if everyone got the room at the discounted price, that would be more fair, but this has scam written all over it.

    If you are getting paid to blog there, I’d strongly suggest you reconsider working with them. This site could really make you look bad by association.

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