Groupon’s localized travel offers are very impressive
To be honest, I've been very skeptical about Groupon and other “flash sale” sites since the beginning, but I must admit that one area where they should continue to be strong is with travel deals. The problem with their normal “local” deals is that the retailer only gets around 25% of their normal retail price, and only a few businesses can actually profit doing that. You might get perpetual offers for yoga studios or for certain treatments and struggling nail salons, but the real good deals can't stick around for long.
However, the travel marketplace is different because most destinations have low seasons and even less-busy days of the week during all seasons. Groupon is well suited to present these offers because most people only visit a hotel once, so if it comes at a huge discount they aren't expecting to get that same low rate in the future. A hotel can offer rooms at 50% off (even if they only get half of it) when they are fairly sure it was going to be empty that night anyway.
Groupon Local Travel Getaways are worth a look
I'd been outside the US for several years so I missed most of Groupon's famous growth and its subsequent collapse, but now I'm here and I see that at least their travel section is doing well. You choose your closest large city and it presents you with offers that are nearby up top, and a bit farther away below. It's about a million times more useful than the TravelZoo newsletter that sends out the same short list to everyone in the world.
One of the best features about Groupon Getaways is that they tell you the actual name of the hotel and the conditions (which days are eligible) before you book, unlike many of the flash sale copycats that only promise a “4-star hotel in (city)”. This way you can easily compare the non-Groupon price with the Groupon price to see what the discount really is. In most cases I think it's safe to say that the “normal price” isn't quite as high as Groupon claims, but also that Groupon's price is actually lower.