Elie Seidman -- Co-Founder and CEO
Elie is the CEO of Oyster.com and one of its co-founders.
Elie has been an entrepreneur nearly since graduating from college in 1997. After spending a year working for Trilogy in Austin, Texas (where he and Ajay Agarwal of Bain Capital Ventures first met), Elie moved back to the East Coast and was involved in the founding of his first company, Wired Business, a telecom services company funded by Norwest Venture Partners. In the fall of 2000, Elie founded Epana and, as its president and CEO, grew the company to more than 400 employees between 2002 and the end of 2005. Elie departed Epana in the spring of 2006 and spent a year as a venture partner at Lime Rock Partners, a private equity fund based in Westport, Conn.
Elie resides in New York. He received his B.S.E. from the University of Pennsylvania.
"Our niche is leisure and vacation travel that you want to be a special experience--like a wedding, a honeymoon or a family reunion, where it's really important that everything go right." Traveling for business? Try this Oyster, Anne Fisher, February 19, 2010
"Recency is a great example of the value of crowd-sourced sites like TripAdvisor. [Our] kind of reviewing required a trade-off of immediacy for the reliability of a professionally written and edited article." Travel Sites or Guidebooks: Why Not Dip Into Both?, Joe Sharkey, February 15, 2010
"The discrepancy between a hotel's Internet image and reality is all too widespread. We found that it's, unfortunately, all too typical." Oyster and '20/20′ investigate hotels' trick photography, December 14, 2009
"It's a lot of work to go through all those [user generated] reviews and a lot of them are polarised in between people who love a property or hate it so I don't buy the argument that it goes away with volume. It doesn't really tell you anything." User reviews will become obsolete, says Oyster, Linda Fox, November 26, 2009
"We definitely want to cover the world - Bali, Bangkok, Tokyo - and the world is a very big place, but what a fun problem to have." The New Oyster Cult, Sarah Rose, November 12, 2009
"What consumers want are authoritative opinions. If you want to buy a car, you can read Car and Driver, or test drive the car. But for hotels you don't get to test drive it. You can't touch it. You can't return it." Hotel reviews, with a little investigative journalism, Leslie Kwoh, October 4, 2009
"Rooms at the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas would cost $500 a night if it were in Midtown Manhattan, but these days, they're often going for less than $100 a night. Prices in Las Vegas will go even lower when City Centre opens at the end of the year. And if the Fontainebleau in Vegas is able to get out of its current problems, Las Vegas will get even cheaper for tourists." Why 2010 will be the year of the travel deal, Christopher Elliott, September 21, 2009
"Hotels are a product you can't see before you buy and can't return it later." Oyster.com specializes in hotel reviews, Steve Huettel, September 15, 2009
"The LGBT demographic is becoming more and more important and one of the cities that attract it en mass is South Beach, Florida. Our reporters found the hotels that stand out above the rest when it comes to catering to gay community." Oyster.com reveals 'Gay friendliest hotels in the gay friendly city of South Beach', Steve Rothaus, August 4, 2009
"You look at people like Expedia and Orbitz and you say to yourself, 'Do any of these properties look different than they did five years ago? There's no innovation." Venture Capital Firms Climbing Aboard Travel Start-Ups,Ty McMahan, August 4, 2009
"Our reviews are all done by full-time employees who spend all their time either visiting hotels or writing the reviews. They are our own people. They go there anonymously and try to emulate the experience as closely as possible. They go through a 50-page manual on how to review objectively and fairly." It's War! A Hard-Charging New Hotel Review Website Challenges TripAdvisor Arthur Frommer, July 1, 2009
"The plan is to establish a big base of rigorous and independent reviews, each about 2,000 words, accompanied by reviewer-produced candid photographs of practically every nook of each hotel." A new hotel-rating Web site, Oyster, joins the chorus, Joe Sharkey, June 28, 2009
"Unlike anonymous user critiques or some guidebooks that take freebies, we're offering a professional, structured perspective.We're not a luxury-focus site, and you're not going to see a $35-a-night place near the airport or a small bed-and-breakfast inn." Oyster leaves hotel ratings to the pros, Laura Bly, June 26, 2009
"What's interesting about the Internet and the Web, is it's a very democratic environment. If you build it and it's valuable, people will look at it." Ex-Microsofties launch new hotel-review site, The Microsoft Blog, Nick Eaton, June 24, 2009
"We don't end up staying at a lot of truly awful places, but when we do stay at someplace awful, we call it out." New hotel review website trumpsTripAdvisor, hires its own reporters, Wallet Pop, Jason Cochran, June 24, 2009
"The reviews are very structured. Here's the room, here's the location, here's what the food is like, here are the amenities. We verify that the spa is a spa, and not a small room with an old treadmill that they're calling a spa." Aspiring to Rate Rooms When Everyone's a Critic, Joe Sharkey, June 23, 2009
"We won't partner with a specific one because our desire is to provide our readers with the best information regardless of where it comes from." New hotel review website Oyster sends writers undercover to deliver honest opinions & property photos, Jen Leo, June 23, 2009
"Hotels are a product you can't return once you've bought it. We believe the critical thing here is to reduce their risk." Hotel Reviews and Objectivity: Oyster Hires Reporters, Justin Bachman, June 22, 2009
"The difference between what Oyster.com reporters bring back and the marketing distortions of the hotel industry is often shocking. By pulling back the sheets and revealing what you're really going to get, [we] will fundamentally change the way people make hotel decisions." New hotel review site pledges objectivity, Jeri Clausing, June 22, 2009
My Favorite Hotels
- Pearls: Rating: 5.0 Pearls
- Location: South Beach, Miami
The stunning 312-room W South Beach -- located on the beach, on the northern outskirts of South Beach -- blends cute comforts, intricate design (that spares no expense), and flawless service. Large, modern rooms; terraces angled to overlook the ocean; elegant landscaping around the pool; a lush Bliss spa -- the W tops the Miami greats.
- Pearls: Rating: 4.5 Pearls
- Location: Financial District, San Francisco
With astounding views from elegant, spacious rooms high up in a Financial District skyscraper and the best in pampering service, this Mandarin Oriental lives up to its luxury reputation. The downtown location makes it best for business travelers, but the spa and fitness center are a draw for others as well. And the rooms and services are hard to beat.
- Pearls: Rating: 5.0 Pearls
- Location: Beverly Hills/Bel Air, Los Angeles
One of the best hotels -- if not the best hotel -- in the entire L.A. area, the Peninsula bills itself, accurately, as an "exclusive oasis." You can splurge (huge, gorgeous rooms; afternoon tea; renowned restaurant) or go downright charge-crazy (private villa, luxury spa). Just be sure to bring your platinum card.
- Pearls: Rating: 5.0 Pearls
- Location: The Strip, Las Vegas
Opened in December 2008, the 2,034-room Encore is about pure opulence; not surreal, family-friendly showmanship. Its giant rooms one-up even the Wynn's (Encore's sister next door) and include such snazzy features as bedside curtain control, beautiful design, and an enormous bathroom. The rooms stand toe-to-toe with the Palazzo's and THEhotel's as the best in Vegas.
- Pearls: Rating: 4.0 Pearls
- Location: East Village, Manhattan
With 135 flawlessly appointed rooms, a super-hip bar tucked away in the nostalgic, velvet-filled lobby, 24-hour room service, free Wi-Fi, and free bike rentals, the Bowery Hotel redefines class in a gentrified downtown neighborhood where punk rock and squalor once ruled.