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.
Travel is still a relatively small portion of the overall Groupon business, although the segment notched solid revenue growth in the third quarter. The issue for Groupon in travel is whether a standalone app will make much of a difference as the popularity of flash sales seems to be diminishing.
Groupon's launch of tonight-only hotel deals in its mobile apps isn't exactly the "shot heard 'round the world," but Groupon has the audience and scale to do some damage.
Will Groupon emerge as a larger player in online hotel sales? It's possible, but the necessary focus probably isn't there, and flash sales aren't on anyone's 2014 trends list.
While some erroneously looked to Expedia to take tours and activities mainstream, Groupon, if it survives, is making the first move.
Groupon and Expedia have downgraded their partnership. Whether it was a mutual decision as both parties claim or push came to shove, it was clear that these two big brands weren't going to smoothly co-exist forever.
Groupon is rounding out its hotel offering after having acquired same-night hotel app Blink last September. The whole thing is still a very niche product.
Groupon and LivingSocial blew up the business of deals -- just ask Travelzoo. Now people are trying to figure out how to put it back together.
Putting tonight-only deals into the Groupon App isn't going to put HotelTonight or other competitors out of business, but it adds a competitor with a huge user base. Game on.
This is just further confirmation of something we already knew: That travel deals often aren't really deals. Several sties, such as DealAngel and DealBase, have tried to make businesses of out vetting deals, but they never got really far.