Skift Take

Many people have worked hard for a long time to bring tours and activities into the digital age. So far, there's very, very little to show for all the work and all the hype.

Tours and activities platform SideTour, which was acquired by Groupon in September 2013 and run relatively independent since then, informed customers that it would be ceasing operations on June 1 and consolidating all operations under Groupon.

“Over the last year and a half, we’ve learned a lot about this business, and as a result of our learnings, we’re integrating our operations and resources more tightly with Groupon,” the SideTour team wrote in an email to customers.

Integration in this case means a complete closure of the SideTour website, which will redirect to, as well as discontinuing SideTour’s offering in favor of Groupon’s deep discounted products. Events created in SideTour will have to be re-created to work in Groupon.

“If you’re interested in moving your events to Groupon, there will have to be changes to the structure of your experience to make it work in Groupon’s marketplace, including the implementation of discounting and a potential change in revenue share,” SideTour staff wrote in its email to customers.

As opposed to larger tours and activities operators such as Viator or GetYourGuide, SideTour specialized in smaller, niche experiences that emphasized local experiences. But alongside these majors SideTour shared an inability to catch on with a mass audience.

Nick Gray, who operates MuseumHack at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, among other locations, expressed the sentiment of a small operator that used SideTour to sell tickets.

Groupon acquired SideTour and European hotel app Blink within a two-week stretch in 2013. It quickly moved to integrate Blink’s features into Groupon’s last-minute hotel offering.

Under Groupon, SideTour expanded from four cities to ten in the first six months. It continued to sell product through both the SideTour brand as well as distribute it through Groupon.


The Daily Newsletter

Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: groupon, local, tours and activities

Photo credit: SideTour's homepage. As of June 1, this will redirect to

Up Next

Loading next stories