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Jetsetter’s New iPad App Features 360-Degree, Immersive Photos

April 08, 2011
Wired
by Sam Gustin

Jetsetter.com, the members-only travel website that is part of by New York-based, high-end online retailer Gilt Groupe, is launching a new iPad application with an innovative twist: a 360-degree seamless photo display that allows customers to immerse themselves within the company’s resort-partner properties.

“The tablet, which is an intimate device that feels more like content, is great for us,” Jetsetter CEO Drew Patterson told Wired.com during a recent interview. “We’re able to have the richness of our content experience, coupled with a place you can go buy.”

At launch, the Jetsetter iPad app will feature 15 hotels with 360-degree immersive panoramic images, the company said.

“Travel planning should be a visual feast and the Jetsetter App takes full advantage of the stunning display and innovative Multi-Touch user interface of iPad to inspire travelers with stunning images and compelling editorial,” Patterson added in a statement announcing the iPad app.

Dubbed the Groupon of luxury travel, Jetsetter has already attracted 2.3 million members only one year after its April 2010 launch thanks to flash-sales (of up to 50 percent off) for some of the most luxurious and exclusive resorts in the world.

Jetsetter has a stable of some 200 travel correspondents who write descriptions of the resorts, allowing members to read professional accounts of Jetsetter’s resort partners. The company has nine full-time editors in New York City, who manage the correspondents worldwide.

Last year, Jetsetter sold a whopping 200,000 hotel-room nights, which shouldn’t be surprising: who wouldn’t want as much as a 50 percent discount at some of the top resorts in the world?

In addition to “flash-sales,” which are similar to Groupon-style daily deals, Jetsetter has a service called Jetsetter 24/7, which offers exlusive rates at over 300 top hotels in the world, all of which have been “verified” by the company’s travel correspondents.

Jetsetter also offers custom packages — for a price — to destinations like the Coachella music festival, complete with backstage passes and after-party access. In another example, Jetsetter created a custom summer itinerary for two friends who wanted to travel around Europe. None of these “bespoke” service come cheap, but then again, Jetsetter is aiming for a high-end clientele.

In order to create the 360 degree photo experience for the iPad application, JetSetter photo editor Tyler Wriston and his coleagues created a first-of-its-kind camera setup made up of off-the-shelf photography equipment, including a Gigapan Epic 100 camera, (featured in Wired.com here.)

Thus the “Jetbot” was born. In less than 10 minutes, the camera automatically rotates, taking pictures of a deluxe suite, a hotel lobby, or even a resort restaurant.

With its new iPad app, Jetsetter is pushing the limits of app development for tablets, and the results are impressive indeed.

Jetsetter’s New iPad App Features 360-Degree, Immersive Photos

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