Groupon wants to be much more than a flash sales site when it comes to hotels.
The company added some 20,000 hotels to its Groupon Getaways with Expedia product, which now offers a mix of limited-time flash sales and hotels booked in the more standard way. Groupon says its flash sales offer discounts of up to 60% off published rates.
Before the big ramp-up, Groupon offered several hundred hotel flash sales at any given time.
Now, for the first time, travelers can search for hotels by destination on Groupon Getaways and input desired dates. Groupon says with the addition of the 20,000 hotels, travelers can find properties at “every major travel destination.”
That may be a stretch and choice may be very limited when you consider that Booking.com offers more than 415,000 properties.
Most of Groupon’s hotels have a booking calendar so consumers wouldn’t need vouchers for redemption — a common complaint with flash sales — and can check for pricing and availability on desired dates, Groupon says.
The hotels are sourced through a combination of Groupon’s direct sales team, and via its affiliate relationship with Expedia.
The idea behind the expansion is to broaden out Groupon’s hotel offerings by giving consumers a lot more choice than they previously had.
These expanded hotel choices are currently available to travelers at points of sale in the U.S. and Canada via the Web and Groupon’s mobile apps.
Travelers who book one of the 20,000 new properties can earn 5% back in Groupon Bucks, which can be applied toward a future purchase.
Travel is an important business segment for Groupon. Travel generated about 12.7% of its $1.34 billion in gross billings in the third quarter of 2013.