Europe-focused same-day mobile booking service Blink has caught the eye of Groupon - with the deal service wrapping up an acquisition for the Spain-based company for an undisclosed fee.
The acquisition of Blink is being touted by Groupon as a way of bolstering its focus on the travel sector following the launch of Groupon Getaways in 2011.
Blink will continue to be run from its offices in the Spanish capital Madrid and will be known as Blink By Groupon.
Groupon says there will be some integration into the wider world of the deals platform, primarily to "take advantage of the full breadth" of product from the Getaways service.
Blink (TLabs here) had raised around $2.5 million from PROFounders and SoftTech VC as well as a number of angels.
Announcing the deal on its blog, Blink reckons the combination of it and Groupon will "revolutionize the way you travel".
"Since we launched Blink, we have been offering the best last minute offers, but we were not satisfied with just that. wanted to give you more and better: Blink by Groupon will surprise you."
Since launch, Blink has secured contracts with 2,000 hotel partners in eight countries around Europe. It works on the model of curating same-day deals from suppliers rather than offering product from every hotelier in a city (as Booking.com does).
Senior vice president of Getaways, Aaron Cooper, says:
"The combination of a fantastic mobile app, same-day inventory management for properties and a team that is obsessed with mobile and last-minute travel will help us further expand our travel business as the go-to destination for great deals on great places to stay."
The deal comes just five days after Blink rival Hotel Tonight more than doubled the amount of money invested in the company so far, with a Series D raise of $45 million.
It's not the first time Groupon has moved into travel by way of an acquisition, having bought Uptake in February 2012 also for an undisclosed fee. Uptake now redirects to Groupon Local.
Hot Hotels, another of the same-day booking services, believes the Groupon deal for Blink and HotelTonight's recent investment puts the same-day booking model on the map.
"Blink and Groupon is just one of a number of consolidations lately in the travel space. In addition, the $45 million Series D funding round by Hotel Tonight is a huge validation of the last minute hotel booking space."