With more than 150 brands offering daily deals, and traditional media companies now building out their own deals platforms, the need for differentiation is apparent. LivingSocial, which according to compete.com boasts as many monthly unique visitors as Groupon, has acquired social adventure company Urban Escapes to position itself as a “local activity discovery engine,” not simply a deals provider.
Rather than deals, Urban Escapes offers group getaways and social excursions. It is operable in only four U.S. cities, but according to LivingSocial CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy, the company is already reaping seven-figure revenues and fields a staff of 35.
LivingSocial plans to build out Urban Escapes in additional domestic markets and will consider international expansion as well. Moving forward, the sites will be integrated into the LivingSocial brand so that subscribers to daily deals can also be exposed to group adventures.
Both LivingSocial and Groupon are making concerted efforts to target and differentiate their products within the increasingly congested market. Last month, LivingSocial began serving deals at the neighborhood, or sub-metro level. Groupon, meanwhile, began its personalization program in July, which gives users greater control over the types of deals they receive based on their geography, demography and interests. Both efforts create additional inventory, which the companies need to recruit new local clients.