Groupon is looking to beef up its vacation deals arm, Groupon Getaways. The company announced Monday that it has acquired the last-minute hotel booking app Blink. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Based in Madrid and launched in 2011, Blink has amassed over 2,000 hotel partnerships across Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Ireland, the UK, Portugal, and the Netherlands.
Like its U.S.-based counterpart HotelTonight, Blink is a mobile-only app that gives offers users tantalizing discounts for same-day hotel bookings. For example, if you book now, you can get a room at Le Patio Saint Antoine in Paris for €219, a 20% discount from its usual €274.
The app curates hotels under four categories: comfort, luxury, design, and executive. And users can search by the type of location they want: urban, province, “charming” (castles, vineyards, etc.), or coast.
“The combination of a fantastic mobile app, same-day inventory management for properties and a team that is obsessed with mobile and last-minute travel will help us further expand our travel business as the go-to destination for great deals on great places to stay,” said Groupon Getaways SVP Aaron Cooper, in a statement.
Groupon’s travel category accounted for $171 million in gross billings across its domestic and international businesses in the second quarter of 2013. That accounts for 12% of the $1.41 billion Groupon did in gross billings last quarter. Travel accounted for just 9% of Groupon’s gross profit in Q2 2013, compared to Local, which accounted for 75% of gross profit.
It’s fairly interesting that Groupon decided to buy a last-minute hotel booking app that has focused exclusively on Europe. These days, Groupon has been trying to bolster its North American business.
North American gross billings were up 30% as the number of active deals increased to 54,000 from 40,000 from last quarter.
Additionally, active customers grew 12% year-over-year to 42.6 million. And while average customer spend worldwide remained flat at $138, customer spend in North America increased by $5 to $156 compared to $151 last quarter.
As it stands, Groupon’s travel business is actually bigger in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) than it is in North America. Its EMEA travel segment generated $74 million in gross billings in Q2, while its North American segment drummed up $65 million. That could explain why Groupon purchased an app focusing on European hotels rather than one focusing on North American hotels.
The Blink app will be rebranded as Blink by Groupon and will continue to operate separately for the time being.