Oyster Privacy Policy

Effective on February 26, 2014

This privacy statement describes how Oyster.com (operated by Smarter Travel Media, LLC, and referred to herein as “STM” or “Oyster”, as either term applies to the Oyster.com Web site) collects and uses the personal information you provide on our Web site: www.oyster.com . It also describes the choices available to you regarding our use of your personal information and how you can access and update this information.

Cookies and Other Web Technologies

A cookie is a small piece of data that a web server places on a user's computer. Oyster employs the use of cookies and web beacons to ensure that you do not see the same ad repeatedly, to track marketing promotions, to estimate and report audience size and traffic, and to customize and personalize your experience at Oyster.com.

Furthermore, Oyster may, from time to time, use outside media companies to display advertisements on our site. These ads may contain cookies and web beacons, which are collected and tracked by the outside media company. Oyster has no access to or control over these cookies.

Most web browsers provide users the ability to limit the use of cookies and web beacons by allowing users to adjust privacy settings. If a user has their cookies disabled, Oyster will still be accessible, but some sections of the Web site will not perform as well as they normally would with cookies enabled.

Links to Other Web Sites

Our Site includes links to other Web sites whose privacy practices may differ from those of STM. If you submit personal information to any of those sites, your information is governed by their privacy statements. We encourage you to carefully read the privacy statement of any Web site you visit.

Security

The security of your personal information is important to us. When you enter sensitive information (such as a credit card number) on our order forms, we encrypt the transmission of that information using secure socket layer technology (SSL).

We follow generally accepted industry standards to protect the personal information submitted to us, both during transmission and once we receive it. No method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage, is 100% secure, however. Therefore, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

We will retain your information for as long as your account is active or as needed to provide you services. If you wish to cancel your account or request that we no longer use your information to provide you services, you may click on the unsubscribe link in an email from us or contact us here. We will retain and use your information as necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements.

If you have any questions about security on our Web site, you can contact us by completing this form.

Site Registration, Email Subscriptions, Email Communications and Newsletters

Oyster's registration form may require users to provide basic contact and demographic information. We use or may use your contact information (such as your email address) from the registration form to send you newsletters and occasional information about our services and partners, inform you if you are the potential winner of a contest or promotion, personalize your experience with Oyster, or investigate cases of suspected fraud or abuse. You may opt-out of receiving future communications by clicking on the unsubscribe link in an email from Oyster. In order to customize your experience with our email newsletters, we receive a confirmation when you open email from Oyster if your computer supports such capabilities. Clicking on a link in an Oyster newsletter is also tracked on a per user basis to allow us to present content which closely matches your interests. Demographic and profile data (such as state, zip code, age, or gender) is used to customize your experience at our site or in our email newsletters, showing you content and advertising that best suits your needs. This information is shared with advertisers and other third parties on an aggregate or anonymized basis only. Personal information about individual users is never shared with advertisers.

If, in the future, you enter Oyster via a reward or incentive program, Oyster may share your email address with the program through which you entered Oyster to ensure you are credited with your incentive.

You may also register for Oyster and/or specific Oyster newsletters at Web sites operated by third parties. These third parties may share contact, demographic or profile data that you voluntarily provide during the registration process with Oyster. You also may provide personal information to third parties when you register at a third party Web site and specifically request that your information be forwarded to us so that we can send you information about our product and service offerings. Oyster does or may in the future use this information in the same manner as information collected directly by Oyster. This Privacy Policy does not bind sites that collect information on behalf of Oyster, and Oyster is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of such Web sites.

To better serve you, we may also store information you present to us via email or telephone communications with Oyster's Customer Service Department. This information is or may be used in the same manner as information directly collected using Oyster's registration form. We may also use information you provide us via email or telephone to pursue the matter for which you contacted us. Oyster also may obtain information from you in our online forums. This information may not be disclosed except as consistent with Oyster’s Terms of Use.

In order to better communicate with registered users about their registration status, Oyster may acquire information about users from third-party sources, including but not limited to a user’s mailing address. The information collected will be shared with third parties on an aggregate basis only, if at all.

Display of Advertising/Your Choices

Data collected to serve you with relevant advertising

Oyster and its affiliated Web sites are committed to providing you with relevant content and information across our sites. To do this, we may collect information about your travel-related searches, such as whether you are looking for hotels, and use this information to serve you with ads on our sites or elsewhere online that match your apparent interests. So, for example, if you search for a hotel room in Florida on Oyster.com, you may see an ad for a Florida travel package on Oyster.com or on another Web site you visit.

We do not share your personal information (such as email addresses) with unaffiliated third parties so they can serve you with advertisements. You can choose not to receive relevant online advertising on other Web sites based on your travel-related searches on Oyster.com by clicking here.

Many of the advertisements you see on the Oyster and STM family of sites are served by Oyster.com or its service providers. However, we also allow third parties to collect information about your online activities through cookies and other technologies. These third parties include (1) business partners, who collect information when you view or interact with one of their advertisements on our sites, and (2) advertising networks, which collect information about your interests when you view or interact with one of the advertisements they place on many different Web sites on the Internet. The information gathered by these third parties is used to make predictions about your characteristics, interests or preferences and to display advertisements on our sites and across the Internet tailored to your apparent interests.

Please note that we do not have access to or control over cookies or other technologies these third parties may use to collect information about your interests, and the information practices of these third parties are not covered by this Privacy Policy. Some of these companies are members of the Network Advertising Initiative, which offers a single location to opt out of ad targeting from member companies. To learn more, please click here.

Data collected by companies that operate cookie-based exchanges to serve you with relevant advertising.

Like other companies operating online, Oyster participates in cookie-based exchanges where anonymous information is collected about your browsing behavior through cookies and other technologies and segmented into different topics of interest (such as travel). These topics of interest are then shared with third parties, including advertisers and ad networks, so they can tailor advertisements to your apparent interests. We do not share personal information (such as your email address) with these companies and we do not permit these companies to collect any such information about you on our site. Please click here to learn more about cookie-based exchanges, including how to access information about the topics of interest associated with cookies on your computer and how to decline participation in these programs.

What information we collect from you

Automatic Information. We automatically collect some information about your computer when you visit Oyster. For example, we will collect your IP address, and information relating to your Web browser software and referring Web site. We also may collect information about your online activity, such as trips viewed. One of our goals in collecting this information is to help customize your user experience. We do not use this information to identify you.

Cookies and Other Web Technologies. When you visit Oyster, we may assign your computer a "cookie" (a small, unique identifier text file). You can always choose not to receive a cookie file by enabling your Web browser to refuse cookies or to prompt you before accepting a cookie. Please note that if you refuse to accept cookies from Oyster, you may not be able to access many of the travel tools offered by Oyster.

Information Collected Through Web Analytics. Oyster uses a Web analytics company to track and generate reports on visitor use of our site. We use the Web analytics company to analyze visitor activity so that we may better understand how visitors make use of Oyster, and so that we may better tailor content to meet our visitors' needs. This data may include anonymized, individual visitor click behavior. No personally identifiable information is obtained or shared with the Web analytics company. Although our Web analytics company logs the information coming from Oyster on our behalf, we control how that data may and may not be used.

How we use this information

Oyster uses information we collect for the following general purposes: to measure interest in and improve our products, services, and Web site; to resolve disputes or troubleshoot problems; to prevent potentially prohibited or illegal activities; to enforce our Terms of Use; and as otherwise described to you at the point of collection.

If you chose to receive communications from Oyster about special promotions when registering as an Oyster member, we may use your email address to send you communications about surveys, contests, sweepstakes, promotions, flight specials, deals or other travel news and opportunities on Oyster and its marketing partners. If you choose to receive our Newsletters, you may receive communications such as "Top Travel Deals" and periodic announcements about changes to our features at your email address. You can discontinue your subscription to Oyster promotional email services at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the email received.

With whom we share this information

Oyster may share the information it collects with the following entities:

  • Third-party vendors who provide services or functions on our behalf, including package delivery, business analytics, customer service, marketing, distribution of surveys or sweepstakes programs, and fraud prevention. These companies have access to information needed to perform their functions but are not permitted to share or use the information for any other purpose.
  • Business partners who may offer products or services through our site. You can tell when a third party is involved in a product or service you have requested because their name will be listed. Please note that we do not control the privacy practices of these third-party business partners and recommend you evaluate their practices before deciding to provide them with any personal information.
  • Companies within the TripAdvisor family. Oyster is a member of the TripAdvisor corporate family. We may share information with our corporate affiliates, including but not limited to, TripAdvisor, Cruise Critic, Travelpod, Holiday Lettings, FlipKey, DaoDao, and Kuxun. To the extent that our corporate affiliates have access to your information, they will follow practices that are at least as restrictive as the practices described in this Privacy Policy.

We also may share your information:

  • In response to subpoenas, court orders, or other legal process; to establish or exercise our legal rights; to defend against legal claims; or as otherwise required by law. In such cases we reserve the right to raise or waive any legal objection or right available to us.
  • When we believe it is appropriate to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding illegal or suspected illegal activities; to protect and defend the rights, property, or safety of Oyster, our customers, or others; and in connection with our Terms of Service and other agreements.
  • In connection with a corporate transaction, such as a divestiture, merger, consolidation, or asset sale, or in the unlikely event of bankruptcy.

Other than as set out above, you will be notified when information about you will be shared with third parties, and you will have an opportunity to choose not to have us share such information.

  • We also may share aggregate or anonymous information with third parties, including advertisers and investors. For example, we may tell our advertisers the number of visitors a Web site receives or what are the most popular vacation destinations. This information does not contain any personal information and is used to develop content and services we hope you will find of interest.
  • Occasionally, Oyster may participate in reward programs. In order to properly credit you for your reward, we may share basic customer information with the reward-giver.
  • In the future, Oyster may host content on behalf of certain other Web site partners. Information collected on these pages may be shared with the partner site. These pages, and any information shared with the partner site, are subject to the Privacy Policy of the partner site.

Sweepstakes, Online Surveys, and Order Forms

Oyster occasionally runs sweepstakes, hosts online surveys, or uses order forms on our Web site in which we ask for contact and demographic information. Participation in sweepstakes and surveys and usage of order forms is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose this information. We use or may use your contact information (such as your email address) from your sweepstakes entry, survey registration, or order form to inform you if you are the potential winner of a contest or promotion, personalize your experience with Oyster, send you newsletters (should you opt-in for these newsletters) and occasional information about our services or partners, or investigate cases of suspected fraud. You may opt-out of receiving future communications by clicking on the unsubscribe link in an email from Oyster.

Demographic and profile data (such as zip code, age, or gender) may be used to customize your experience at our site, showing you content and advertising that may best suit your needs. This information is shared with advertisers and other third parties on an aggregate basis only. In the event that Oyster partners with a third party to run a sweepstakes, Oyster may share demographic and profile data with such third party only as indicated in the official sweepstakes rules.

Additional Policy Information

You can log in to our site using sign-in services such as Facebook Connect or an Open ID provider. These services will authenticate your identity and provide you the option to share certain personal information with us such as your name and email address to pre-populate our sign up form. Services like Facebook Connect give you the option to post information about your activities on this Web site to your profile page to share with others within your network.

Correcting and Updating Your Personal Information

To review and update your personal information to ensure it is accurate, you may log into your account and click “Settings” or contact us by completing this form.

Notification of Privacy Statement Changes

We may update this privacy statement to reflect changes to our information practices. If we make any material changes we will notify you by email (sent to the email address specified in your account) or by means of a notice on this Site prior to the change becoming effective. We encourage you to periodically review this page for the latest information on our privacy practices.

Children Under 13 Years Old STM and its affiliated sites do not knowingly collect, maintain or use personal information from our Web sites about children under age 13. Children under the age of 13 may not participate in any online activities on Oyster.com.

Business Changes and Contact Information

As part of operations, Oyster may sell, transfer or merge particular businesses and/or other assets to a third party. As part of such a transaction, personal information users have provided to Oyster may be given to a third party. Oyster attempts to comply with all legislative and judicial orders. These orders will take precedence over the details stated in the policy above. If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy or your dealings with Oyster, please contact us at the address below:

Smarter Travel Media, LLC, 226 Causeway Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02114

Contact Form: http://www.oyster.com/about/contact/

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