Groupon: Deal or No Deal?
Groupon is joining the Independent Hotel Show lineup for the first time this year. Why the decision to join as an exhibitor and what are you offering our hotelier guests?
Groupon Getaways has been an integral part of the Groupon offering for many years now, and we are constantly looking to delight our subscribers with amazing days and nights away. Having previously exhibited at the IHS I knew it was a great place to meet as many like-minded hoteliers as possible - hoteliers with unique properties that have outstanding design, locations and experiences.
Of all the distribution channels available; why Groupon, why now?
There has been a lot of consolidation in the hotel distribution landscape recently, and Groupon Getaways genuinely offers hoteliers a differentiated method of marketing themselves and distributing their inventory to our 48.9 million active subscribers globally. Our customers are impulse driven with a high propensity to travel, so we work with our partners to give maximum exposure to their properties when they need support the most.
You've come from a Mr & Mrs Smith background. Presumably you've been brought in to raise the Groupon brand profile amongst hoteliers? How are you planning on doing this?
Groupon caters to such a diverse demographic, we have to have something for everyone. The benefits of the scale of Groupon is that we can deliver meaningful production and reach across all product and ADR ranges, from country B&B's to 5* city centre properties. For select merchants we have developed a Premium Collection of dedicated newsletters and site real estate, and we have found that this has gained a lot of traction with our more discerning partners.
What added value does selling your rooms via Groupon provide for the hotelier? And on the flip side for the guest?
I think we are a very flexible partner for the hotelier, be it the actual feature that we market on our site, the cost of sale and what's included, or even the method that the customers can transact with us – either via a traditional Groupon voucher sale, or through our booking widget and extranet. Everything is individually tailored to the hotels. The customer on the other hand is delivered a genuinely bespoke experience that is many times more inspirational and valuable than other methods of booking travel.
How is Groupon currently perceived and how will you be perceived in the future?
I think a company that has disrupted and scaled so quickly in such a short amount of time may well be perceived in certain ways, both good and bad. I see my job to magnify the positive and reshape the negative connotations that Groupon Getaways has in the market. For example, people assume our site just attracts the so-called ‘bargain hunters'. This is just not true and hoteliers are often surprised when they understand the proportion of high earners in our customer base and their spending habits.
To market your hotel on Groupon, what criteria must you meet?
One of our overriding values is to start with the customer and work backwards, so anything we put on our site must have a strong proposition from a subscriber perspective. We look at all aspects of the property in terms of location, what USPs it offers, its quality and what the marketing message is likely to be. This all really gives our customers a great value experience that they can't get anywhere else.
Finally, what independent hotel trend is currently exciting you the most?
I am always excited by the creative and dynamic ways hoteliers are embracing technology to augment their products and services. From delivering personalised content to prospective guests, to the use of ibeacons in and around hotels once they've arrived, the push to deliver a frictionless guest experience is something that has always fascinated me.
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