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TripAlertz combines group buying with travel flash sales

Launching today, TripAlertz aims to do for the travel market what Groupon and LivingSocial have done for restaurants, spas and shops. Part flash sale, part group-buying site, TripAlertz will offer impulse getaway packages with prices that start 30 to 50 percent below the leading public online travel sites.

Destinations to be featured include places like Miami, Orlando, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, and Cancun, just to name a few. To take advantage of the epic savings, members collaborate to book trips within a two-week booking period. The starting price for each deal will offer an average savings of 30 percent off the leading public online travel sites. As more people buy in, a 10 to 20 percent additional discount kicks in, called the "Epic Price."

The site will also offer added incentives and discounts, including perks called Early Bird Advantages for those who are among the first to book a certain getaway. Incentives for signing up other members include $1 in TripCash for every friend that joins by December 31, 2010.

Once booked, members can opt to meet, share advice, and create friendship with their fellow travelers on a private collaboration page before traveling, a feature that no private or group buying site currently offers.

"Our goal is for TripAlertz to revolutionize the impulse getaway market by offering a compelling value and experience for travelers who may have less money, vacation time, and want travel advice from people who have a vested interest in the success of the trip," said Brendan P. Murphy, founder of TripAlertz. "Today's travel sites make travel a transaction, a robotic process that eliminates the inherent social, cultural, and experiential elements of travel."

TripAlertz is also committed to partnering with non-profit organizations that reduce suffering or further environmental sustainability, including donating $1 to aHomeinHaiti.org for every new member that joins through November, up to $100,000 total.

We're curious to see if this model is as successful as other flash sale sites. The concept of "sweetening" the deal certainly encourages social sharing, and travelers more concerned with a destination than a specific property will certainly enjoy the perks. But often part of the enjoyment of a trip is the service -- and we worry that if partner hotels grow too overwhelmed with bookings that the treatment of guests will suffer as a result. We'll just have to wait and see, and please weigh in in the comments section below if you've booked a trip!

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