And suddenly, Groupon is back in travel: The daily deals site has acquired Madrid-based last-minute hotel booking app Blink to add to its Groupon Getaways travel business. Blink says it works with more than 2,000 hotel partners in eight European countries. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Blink app will be rebranded “Blink by Groupon” and will operate separately. Groupon Getaways launched in 2011 and is powered by Expedia. Groupon Getaways works with hotels and other partners to provide travel deals and experiences in 48 countries, it says.
Blink, founded in 2011, had raised about $2.5 million in funding so far, from investors such as PROfounders Capital, SoftTech VC, Ballpark Ventures and others.
Blink competes with the other Spanish last-minute hotel booking startup Hot. With the last minute mobile hotel booking sector heating up — HotelTonight announced a huge raise last week — this may be good timing as the sector starts to consolidate.
Groupon’s acquistion of Blink can be viewed as a weigh to strengthen Groupon’s existing travel business with partner Expedia. Or it can be Groupon’s latest step toward striking out on its own in travel, and eventually cutting its Expedia ties.
This is the second acquisition of a travel startup based out of Spain in a week: last week Skyscanner bought Barcelona-based hotel metasearch site Fogg.