How LivingSocial and Groupon Changed the Purchasing Habits of the US Online Traveler

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The purchasing habits of the US online traveler have been deeply affected by the holiday-voucher model introduced by LivingSocial and Groupon. CostaRicaTravelMarket.com launched last month and offers a voucher business model which provides Costa Rica hotels with a country-focused deal platform where properties publish their offers directly to consumers.

Costa Rica Travel Market

Costa Rica Travel Market

CostaRicaTravelMarket offers a voucher business model for Costa Rica Hotels to deliver offers to the US traveler.

With the advent of LivingSocial's "Escapes" and Groupon's "Getaways", the consumer has been re-educated on how to purchase online travel. The traditional method of "pick a date and find a place" was replaced with a "lock in the deal price, then plan when to go". Travelers are now happy to pay upfront for a $2000 voucher inspired by a dream vacation and make it work within their busy schedules at a later date. The ripple effects of such a change may go unnoticed to the individual traveler, but merchants and hotels have learnt through a steep learning curve that this distribution model will, in the end, benefit their inventory management and occupancy levels dramatically.

In late 2010 it was LivingSocial who pioneered the change. By March 2011 the then director of LatinExplore, Monica McIntyre, became one of the first merchants to launch an Escape to an international location which resulted in large volume of sales. With Costa Rica as the travel destination, over three hundred $1800 vouchers sold in a two week period. 

The voucher model was supported by the consumer's impulse to buy which was ultimately triggered by the expiration date and large discount attached to the offers. Yet time took a toll and soon the deal offers for travel became prolific and begin to suffer consumer exhaustion resulting in stalling sales. On the other hand, merchants begin to shy away from this valued channel that exposed them to millions of consumers because they could not sustain the large discounts and commissions involved.

For Ms. McIntyre, lessons came from two angles: travelers were now savvy on the voucher model and travel service providers embraced discount distribution channels. Through these lessons, Ms. McIntyre envisioned a new opportunity in the travel offer arena  inspiring her to launch a country specific Deal Distribution Platform. CostaRicaTravelMarket.com was introduced last month offering U.S. travelers a Costa Rica focused marketplace. This allows Costa Rica hotels to deliver over 100 deals, year-round, directly to consumers with discounts that vary according to seasonality. A model she believes to be sustainable because it works both for the merchants and the consumer.

Costa Rica Travel Market LLC is a online travel operator with offices in the Denver, CO and San Jose, COSTA RICA. Costa Rica Marketplace delivers an online platform for Hotels to publish Deals & Offers to the US market. For more information contact: http://www.CostaRicaTravelMarket.com, or contact Monica McIntyre at 1.888.831-1811 or by email at info[at]costaricatravelmarket[dot]com.

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Monica McIntyre

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