A new app being released today by Groupon is enabling the daily deals company to place a bigger emphasis on travel.
Groupon Getaways is a standalone Android and iOS application for customers who are looking to book a hotel room around the world. It was developed by the company’s Getaways engineering team in Seattle, where Groupon employs roughly 200 people and is hiring aggressively.
Currently, Groupon’s travel deals are located inside of its main app, where a customer would have to scroll down an endless list of offers to find what they were looking for. The standalone app will allow people to search for deals with more granularity, whether it is travel packages up to 60 percent off or a traditional room bookings at full price.
It also provides same-day bookings that are exclusive to mobile and are immediately available nearby.
Prior to this launch, Groupon had only two other apps. The bigger investment in travel comes despite the daily deals company and Expedia ending a 3-year-old partnership this summer that focused on selling heavily discounted travel deals together.
But from the looks of it, Groupon didn’t need Expedia’s branding to be successful in travel. Over the last year, it has generated more than $908 million in gross travel billings, which represents almost 13 percent of all the company’s gross billings. In addition, it announced that gross travel billings were up 69 percent in Q3 compared to the prior year, making it its fastest growing category.
The search term, “hotel,” is also one of the most popular search terms on Groupon.com and the Groupon mobile app.
Mobile bookings are also seen as a growth area for traditional online travel agencies, like Expedia.
The Bellevue-based company said in Q3 that about 20 percent of room nights are booked on mobile across its various properties. Additionally, it explained that the use case for mobile, in particular, is for last-minute activity and for trips with a shorter length in stay.
With the launch of Groupon Getaways for mobile, the company will obviously be seeking some of those same customers.
Groupon continues to have a partnership with Expedia’s Affiliate Network to source some of its market rate deals, but it also secures deals through other partnerships and directly through its own sales team. It claims to have more than 25,000 travel deals worldwide.
“Whether they know exactly where and when they want to go or they’re just looking for great travel ideas, the new Getaways travel discovery app makes it easier than ever for users to find the best options and book the perfect trip,” said Simon Goodall, Groupon’s VP and GM of Groupon Getaways. “We’ve used Groupon’s extensive mobile expertise to create a user experience that fits the needs of every traveler.”