Groupon Takes Seat at Reservation Business

Because it's not just the great unwashed masses who look for a good deal, daily coupon specialist Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN  ) announced today it was creating Groupon Reserve, a site that will eventually provide the well-heeled with premium deals from top beauty, product, travel, and entertainment brands.

As the first part of its expansion into this area, Groupon will offer restaurant reservation services through Savored.com's reservations engine that lets customers book tables at fine restaurants in their city at discounts of up to 40%. Groupon acquired Savored last September.

Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky said: "Whether it's because of a slow night or a last minute no-show, even the best restaurants have empty tables. Reserve provides these businesses with a yield management solution to bring customers through their doors at the times they need them the most."

Reserve reservations are live in 10 markets, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco. and Washington, D.C., and currently offers discounted reservations to more than 600 of the country's top restaurants, such as Le Cirque in New York City, Chaya Brasserie in Los Angeles, and db Bistro Moderne in Miami.

Groupon plans to expand into more cities in the U.S. and in key international markets by the end of the year and in the future will offer similar reservations capabilities for spas, salons, and hotels.

A big risk will be whether luxury brands will participate, as discounting can hurt that image as an exclusive product, but Groupon says Reserve gives them a new way to reach its target audience.

Reserve is led by Savored founder Ben McKean and is based in Groupon's New York offices. 


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