The prospect that flash sale US giant Groupon is to make a concerted move into travel looms ever larger after it sealed a deal with Expedia.
US technology website All Things D broke news of the tie-up yesterday claiming the deal will offer hotels and air fares at half price to its combined 50 million strong user base. Groupon Getaways with Expedia will allow its subscribers to buy vouchers for air tickets and hotel rooms, car rental and cruises.
Although the service has not officially started yet subscribers can sign up on either the Expedia or Groupon websites. The partnership is expected to be rolled out across northern America and is likely to come to the UK where website Tech Crunch said Groupon and Expedia have already worked together on daily deals.
“Travel is a very popular category on our normal site, and Expedia is the biggest and best brand in travel. The partnership made a ton of sense,” Groupon chief executive Andrew Mason was quoted as saying by All Things D.
The group-buying model has been adapted to travel with customer buying vouchers which they can then redeem over a period of time, usually a year. According to Tech Crunch the partnership with Expedia could see the Groupon Travel channel increase its revenues by 40%.
The specialist technology website claims Groupon was in discussions with Priceline and Travelocity about a deal but Expedia offered better terms.
To date Groupon has been seen as an ideal vehicle for shifting late, local deals and doubts have persisted about its value as a general retailer of travel products, that tend to be sold with longer lead in times.
However partnerships with the likes of Expedia suggest that Groupon, the fastest growing company in web history, has serious ambitions in the travel vertical.