Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Groupon Joins the Travel Marketplace - Whooppee!

Lebua Hotel's Three-Bedroom Suite, Bangkok Thailand

July 13th marked the launch of Groupon Getaways, a partnership between the enormously successful coupon site Groupon and the enormously successful online travel seller, Expedia.  Promising "high quality, curated deals" the two will work together to get as much distressed vacation inventory out the door as possible.

What's new for travelers is that those who buy the discount coupons (in effect, pre-paying for their vacation at a steeply discounted rate) will be able to 'redeem' them at a future date of their own choosing.  Could be a great solution for that family vacation that seems to get priced out of range every time a school break opens up a travel window.

We've said before that Groupon, by offering coupons on attractions, restaurants and shops in 43 countries around the world, can be a boon to travelers.  The trick is to sign up for an email in your destination city before you travel, to take advantage of the savings that locals enjoy. 

How Groupon Getaways Works

According to their spokesperson, Groupon Getaways with Expedia handpicks desirable destinations and the most interesting things to do, offering them at around 50% off retail rates found at other online travel sites. The site will offer a mix of opportunities, from 4- and 5-star properties and activities at premiere locations to nearby weekend packages showcasing hidden gems in a subscriber’s backyard.

The offers available at launch really ran the gamut of interests, and included some whoppers:

  •     Las Vegas: $144 One-Night Weekend Stay at The Palms Casino Resort with Direct Access Pass, Gaming Credit and Breakfast Buffet for Two ($299 Value)
  •     Dallas: $139 One-Night Stay in Premier King Room at The Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa with Lavish Breakfast for Two and 25% Discount at Spa (up to $269 Value)
  •     Bangkok: $2,086 Five-Night Stay for Six Guests in Three Bedroom Hangover Suite at The Tower Club at Lebua with Daily 60-Minute Aromatherapy Massage for Each Guest ($11,875 Value)
Of course, with teens it da' house, the Hangover II suite in Bangkok (pictured above) presented the clear winner for our family. 

Once a customer purchases a voucher, there’s no pressure to book immediately as families can redeem anytime within the expiration period. This allows trip planners to make a down payment toward a memorable vacation, building the trip around that deal when the time is right.

Could be a Win-Win Spend-Spend for Everyone

“Through this partnership, we’re aiming to give the world’s travelers a way to capitalize on travel dreams that might otherwise go unrealized,” said Scott Durchslag, President, Expedia Worldwide. “Sign up, and our Getaway deals will arrive in your in box. When you see one you like, buy it, then take the trip on your timeline.”

Adds Aaron Cooper, Senior VP of New Business, Groupon. "We’ll introduce subscribers to interesting places at prices they won’t expect.”  Check out for more information.

You betcha!

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