Groupon: Good For Hotels Or Just Customers?


If you opened a recent email from Groupon Getaways, you would have seen a local hotel on St. Pete Beach offering amazing deals: Postcard Inn on the Beach was in the process of selling almost 800 rooms at just $89 per night. And the deal included welcome drinks, too.

All-in-all, it was a 45% off of PCIs regular rate. So, with hundreds of Groupons sold, CVBeat sat down with PCI’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Bob Sauerwine, to find out if this new marketing and sales trend was actually beneficial for his property.

CVBeat: Is Groupon a better way to reach customers than traditional marketing?

Sauerwine: I would not say it’s better, but it is different. It has an immediate response unlike traditional print ad, banner ads, etc. And it’s very trackable, whereas some banner ads or print ads are sometimes difficult even with tracking steps in place. It is also a way to fill low-demand periods in a very short period of time.

CVBeat: Considering your Groupon was a 45% discount on your room rate, was this good for business?

Sauerwine: Yes. It fills need dates and can be catered to your business’s needs. Also, people buy the coupons but may never use them, which is called “breakage.” When this happens it makes the marketing campaign more profitable, since it shrinks the percentage of those who actually redeem the coupon.

CVBeat: Almost 800 people bought your Groupon. Was this more than you expected?

Sauerwine: This was our first experiment with Groupon and it was a huge success. Groupon also was so impressed with the results that they extended the offer.

CVBeat: What are some problems associated with offering internet coupons?

Sauerwine: We are so new into the program that we really don’t see any real big problems—other than having adequate staff to answer the phone, but that’s a great problem to have.

CVBeat: There are alternatives to using Groupons, like Living Social and Facebook deals.  Are you using any other sites to reach customers?

Sauerwine: Yes. We actively use social media to create a following for all of our special events. We also use email blasts of our database of emails to promote the property, specials in the restaurant, special events and room night offers. We have done Living Social and are looking into ZOZI, too.

To return to this edition of CVBeat, click here.

About CVBeat

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is the official destination marketing organization for Pinellas County, Florida.
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