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Valet

A highly curated membership-based site offering specialized city guides and insider travel tips

by Josh Rubin in Travel on 28 August 2012

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While most online travel sites cater to the occasional trip goer looking to save money, Valet sets its sights on a more discerning clientele of creative professionals with a highly filtered list of hotels in select destinations worldwide. By specifically targeting—and hand picking—artists, designers, musicians and people of the like, Valet's member-based program connects like minded individuals with a growing list of properties (currently at 80 hotels in over 50 cities) with up to 40% off publicly available prices.

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Leveraging their respectable network of friends around the world, Valet founders Josh Spear and Aaron Rutledge have essentially productized their personal approach to travel. In addition to negotiating deals at a careful selection of hotels worldwide, they're producing map-based city guides for each of these destinations. Both hotels and points on the map for each city are recommendations from "tastemakers and influencers," including the likes of Jeff Staple, Rachel Shechtman and Craig Kanarick who believe that Valet is a safe place to share their best kept secrets to a selected audience. Although a relatively simple idea, these restaurant, shopping and nightlife suggestions could very well mean the difference between liking and loving a new city.

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To acknowledge and appeal to its tech-savvy members, developers Ian Coyle, Duane King (designers of Nike's Better World site) and Takashi Kusui worked side by side with Spear and Rutledge to develop an intuitive site with the latest HTML5, Javascript and CSS and Retina Display ready images. And to recognize that members are often on-the-go, both iPad and iPhone apps are in development, with an integrated membership card to be released in accordance with Apple Passbook and iOS6.

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While still in its early stages, the city-by-city roll out of its curator created guides have begun with New York and Tokyo with Shanghai around the corner. Also down the line Valet intends to launch the Curator Travel Playlist, a GPS-location based tip giver for the iPad. This initiative will give members insight from Valet curators according to their whereabouts, ideal for finding the best cup of joe or nightcap when wandering a new city.

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Membership runs at a yearly $199 fee and is achieved through either an invite or application, which is then screened for "level of influence online and travel habits around the globe." Cool Hunting readers can get fast tracked by using the invite code CHVALET. For more information see Valet online.

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