Acquisition of Polish start-up launched by ex-CEO of Groupon creates Central and Eastern Europe platform for Secret Escapes Group
Secret Escapes Group, the world’s leading online travel deals company, has announced its take-over of start-up Travelist, Poland’s leading travel flash sales business, to further its expansion into Central and Eastern Europe. For Secret Escapes, the acquisition opens the opportunity to replicate the rapid growth it has experienced in the UK market, in which the company has built up a member-base of over five million and year-on-year revenue growth of over 300% within just four years. In addition, the acquisition will increase both companies’ reach across Europe and enable the sharing of quality hotel rooms to millions more customers across the continent.
Travelist was founded in late 2012 by CEO Tomasz Nowinski, ex-Managing Director of Groupon’s travel business in Poland, and under his leadership has enjoyed dynamic growth during the past 14 months, building its local subscriber base to 600,000 members. Following Secret Escapes’ acquisition, the company is set to increase this figure by 300% in 2014 and by an additional 200% in 2015.
Travelist, which will retain its brand and business structure, will receive support from Secret Escapes’ UK HQ as it expands its international holiday deals offering and develops a greater presence in Central and Eastern Europe. The acquisition will enable companies to share expertise on operational processes, promotion and communications and develop future plans to amalgamate Travelist’s deals across the Secret Escapes platform. Travelist currently employs 20 people and expects to double this team size in 12 months.
Alex Saint, Chief Executive of Secret Escapes, said: “Travelist is a very exciting acquisition for us, helping to meet our ambition to expand and establish our presence across Central and Eastern Europe. We are already making great strides in replicating the success of our UK business in Germany and Sweden, but by joining forces with Travelist, we’ll be able to reap the benefits of their 600,000 strong database as well as their exceptional sales team. Our goal, as ever, is to ensure that we’re able to substantially increase hotel occupancy rates and reduce the dependency of hotels on the big OTAs.”
Tomasz Nowinski, Chief Executive of Travelist, said: “When Secret Escapes approached us we were extremely excited by the opportunity to receive the benefit of the company’s travel nous and international experience. With our access to Central and Eastern Europe, this merger will ensure both companies are providing our customers with a wider choice of the best hotel and holiday deals worldwide.”
Founded in 2011, Secret Escapes began its expansion across Europe in 2013, with a launch in Sweden, before the acquisition of the Berlin-based company JustBook earlier this year. Combining the luxury travel flash sales model with Travelist’s successful brand position in Poland, Secret Escapes will now be able to offer unmatched travel deals to consumers across Central and Eastern Europe.