German travel website acquisition marks next stage of Secret Escapes’ expansion plan into European travel market
Secret Escapes Group, the world’s leading online travel deals company, has today announced its 100% ownership of Berlin-based start-up JustBook, the award-winning mobile and web platform for exclusive hotel deals, as part of its continued expansion into Europe. The combination of both companies creates a new, innovative distribution channel for unsold quality hotel rooms to a database of around five million high-value members in Europe.
Secret Escapes, which offers its members exclusive deals on hotels and holidays at significant discounts, aims to replicate its rapid success in the UK market with a membership base of over four million and year-on-year revenue growth of over 300%.
Founded in 2011, Secret Escapes has expanded its presence across Europe, launching in Sweden and Germany in spring 2013. Combining the flash sales for luxury travel model with JustBook’s successful mobile-last minute travel deals (a similar model to that of US-based Hotel Tonight), Secret Escapes will be able to offer unmatched travel deals to all consumers as it continues to grow in and beyond Europe. JustBook founders – Stefan Menden, Ognjen Zeric and Sebastian Fallert will run the Secret Escapes Germany business and help build the mobile strategy for the wider Secret Escapes group.
Alex Saint, chief executive of Secret Escapes, said: “JustBook is a very exciting acquisition for us in helping to meet our ambition to bring the experience of luxury travel to Europe. We are already making great strides in replicating the success of our UK business in Germany, but by joining forces with JustBook, we’ll be able to reap the benefits of their in-depth mobile and app knowledge as well as a first-class management and sales team.
“We’ve proven that 90% of the sales we generate for hotels are incremental, and JustBook offers a similar benefit to its suppliers, so we’ve found a natural partner with which to grow in Germany and expand our marketing channels to include mobile and app distribution. Our major goal is to substantially increase hotel occupancy rates and reduce the dependency of hotels on the big OTAs.”
Stefan Menden, managing director of JustBook, said: “When Secret Escapes approached us we were extremely excited by the opportunity to merge the successful elements of both companies – Secret Escapes’ travel nous and JustBook’s mobile and app experience – to provide wider choice, knowledge and expertise to our customers. We share a common understanding for the importance of developing an outstanding product, a perfect customer experience and mobile as a disruptive platform.
“By combining our propositions – flash sales and last-minute mobile – we’re able to offer hotels and tour operators access to an international userbase and fresh distribution channels.”