Flash deals service Groupon says it is establishing itself as an online travel agency as the next logical step for it in Europe.
The company has already set up separate tour operating companies in France and Germany enabling it to legally package tours through Groupon.
According to Gregory Linn, director of hotel and travel – Europe, Groupon is ‘little by little becoming an OTA with a difference’, which will enable it Â to capitalise on customers receving deals twice a week but not necessarily getting what they want.
“We want to give them a second choice to go to a more traditional mode but still with more interesting packages.”
Linn adds that the company is currently looking at XML development to help it go down the OTA route.
Speaking at a Travel Technology Initiative session on Optimising Digital Sales, Linn says 70% to 80% of customers have no intention of buying so are already removed from the average 15 sites and five-week planning that most consumers go through.
Groupon is also unveiling a luxury hotel brand called Edenist for the French market which has, so far, been ahead of other countries for the company’s business model.
Linn likens the service to Voyage Prive but says there are no plans to extend the brand to other countries at this stage.
In the US, Groupon teamed up with Expedia to offer hotel flash deals but Linn says the model is unlikely to be extended to Europe.