Our interview with the chief curator of an online travel leader's new collection
Launched in 2009, Jetsetter, like its sister Gilt, applies the winning sample-sale concept to travel. Expanding on its success, their new Jetsetter 24/7 allows members to book trips at any time with the assurance that its team personally vets each hotel, tour and cruise, has an easy-to-use site and provides top-notch customer service. To learn a little more about the people behind Jetsetter's commitment to creating a premium travel experience that make it work, we checked in with International Director of Partner Development Roberta Seiler. To celebrate the launch of the new feature, Jetsetter is giving away seven vacations, including a two-night Miami getaway for two with airfare and luxury accommodations at South Beach's Raleigh Hotel. Visit Jetsetter 24/7 before 1 February 2011 to enter to win one.
Above portrait of Roberta Seiler shot by Gregory Stefano at the Peninsula Hotel, a Jetsetter Verified property.
What elements do you look for in a hotel? What are some of your favorite destinations?
I really value friendliness, courtesy and a fantastic concierge. No matter how expensive a hotel is, if you walk in and immediately feel at home then they have done a good job. Free wi-fi that works is nice too. My favorite destinations are Rio de Janeiro, Sevilla and Charleston, SC.
How does this appeal specifically to the Jetsetter clientele?
Our members love to travel and like to experience the real thing. Whether it's a beach vacation or an authentic adventure, this generation wants to feel immersed in the culture when they travel, with all the comforts of course.
What inspired the creation of Jetsetter24/7?
Our private sales are the big attraction, but when sales ended our members would write into our support team asking about verified hotels in certain destinations. It's a lot of work for the team to verify each hotel and produce each sale so now this beautiful editorial can live on in Jetsetter 24/7 and members can purchase rooms at prevailing market rate all year round. Given how much our members enjoy traveling, they will certainly be happy with our year round availability to the best places.
What professional or personal experiences do you draw on to effectively curate the list of destination hotels?
I have had the privilege of traveling extensively with my friends and family. Having grown up between Brazil, Switzerland and New York traveling wasn't seasonal, it was a constent part of my life. I also worked at Leading Hotels of the World and Peninsula Hotels early in my career and learned so much about the thoughtfulness and quality that goes into a top hotel. We also listen to our members, grading our partners through questionnaires we send to members after they stay at one of our partner hotels. If the reviews aren't spectacular, then we will not feature that property again.
What was the initial selection process like?
We have a team of fantastic curators that reach out to properties based on personal experience, recommendations from someone they trust or extraordinary reputation. We then verify the hotels using one of our travel correspondents.
How important is "Jetsetter Verified"? What exactly do Jetsetter correspondents do?
The fact that we verify our hotels is so important to living up to our member's expectations. We want you to know exactly what you are going to get with each hotel featured. We will not feature a hotel that has not been verified. Our network of travel correspondents are the best travel writers in the world. They are each selected for their expertise and they bring this insight directly to members in an unbiased, editorial voice.
What's the next step for curated travel?
Our new Expert Travel services is a great way to get a really personalized expert advice. We are also bringing in many more extraordinay experiences that provide adventure and access to the best of the best. It's funny, this generation we cater to wants us to narrow it down for them and make travel choices easy and accessible. I don't think that's too much to ask.