Private travel club launches in US

[France/US] The #3 online travel boutique in France, VoyagePrivé, has just announced its launch in the US. The company has been expanding internationally for the last year, with offices in Spain, Italy and the UK in addition to their Aix-en-Provence headquarters.

Founded in 2004 by some of the former management team from Lastminute France and Orange, VoyagePrive has become the leading invitation-only travel site with over 4 million members. Their users benefit from reductions of 30-60% on exclusive luxury travel deals and packages, which the company guarantees to be at the lowest price at the time of purchase – otherwise users are reimbursed the difference.

Rather than flooding their members with offers, the company strategically proposes 10-15 offers per week – on a first-come first-served basis. Offers are only available for purchase for a period of 4 days maximum. Members are also awarded $25 credit when someone they invite to the community buys their first travel package.

The first offers to appear on the US site will be hotel deals, but flights, cruises, entertainment and all-inclusive packages should follow before the summer. The Mountain View office will be run by CEO Denis Philipon and Maud Pasturaud, which should grow to be between 10 and 15 people by the end of the year.

As the company only recently became international, 93% of its business still comes from France – where it is third to Voyages-SNCF and Promovacances. The company’s rivals in the US are likely to include Gilt Group’s Jetsetter and Kayak – which launched its private sale section last month. And another hard-to-miss newcomer in the VIP travel industry is France’s Vente-Privée, who also recently branched into online travel offers.

The company currently counts over 100 employees worldwide. In addition, VoyagePrive’s parent company, VPG SAS, owns 3 additional online luxury boutiques. Still, VoyagePrive has seen the most success of the lot.