Overstock Gets Into the Travel Game

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) – The already-crowded travel game just got another big player.

Online retailer Overstock.com announced Thursday the addition of a dedicated vacation section, found at vacations.overstock.com. The company says it will feature 30-40 deals at any given time, and there are currently 30 domestic and international hotel deals live on the site.

While the travel industry already has some heavy hitters in the form of Orbitz and Expedia, Overstock’s business model here is different in a couple important ways.

First, Overstock is positioning itself as a hub for special vacation packages rather than as a third-party booking site, which means you’re not going to go there to book a hotel on a per-night basis (all the deals currently live on the site are for multiple days at a given hotel and are limited to a one-month period).

Second, the site only offers hotel rooms, so consumers will have to go elsewhere to arrange their airfare. In both respects, the service is similar to LivingSocial’s “Escapes” service, though the latter seems to deal in more high-end establishments.

Also, unlike LivingSocial Escapes, OverStock Vacations won’t tell you the actual value of the package, which we imagine will make it a bit less attractive to the deal-a-day crowd that wants to know how much money they’re saving. And the fact that you can’t get all-inclusive packages makes it less convenient than a service like Travelzoo, which tracks down vacation packages (many of them with airfare included) and emails the best deals to subscribers.

With that all said, we always welcome another source for discounted vacations, and Overstock does have a good record of low prices and good customer service. It’s also worth noting that there are a number of ways to get access to the deals, including a Twitter feed and an email list.

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