We started Secret Escapes with a very straightforward principle in mind – booking a holiday should be a simple, enjoyable experience.
This principle emerged when we asked ourselves the following question: Going on holiday, be it a weekend break in the country or a week in Barbados, is exciting; so why does booking the damn thing feel like a chore?
We saw that there was an opportunity for a luxury travel deals site that persuaded people to take trips they weren’t planning – in fact, nine out of ten people booking with us have confirmed that they hadn’t planned to book their trip beforehand. We also felt that there was a chance to make using this site a true pleasure…so we went for it.
To make booking travel simple and enjoyable, we decided we needed to take the sting out of the process. Sorting the wheat from the chaff and offering hand-picked luxury hotels and holidays was step one. No need to quality check – we’ve done that for you. The second thing we needed to ensure is that this product was at an unbeatable flash sale price, exclusive only to our members while it’s on sale with us; thus eliminating the need to shop around for hours online searching for a lower rate.
By making sure we stick relentlessly to these two basic goals, we’ve seen our membership grow to over four and a half million in the UK alone.
We’ve also made the hugely exciting decision to open offices in Sweden and Germany, and I’m here to specifically mention our partnership with Berlin-based JustBook. We’ve been talking to JustBook for a while. They’re an innovative company offering quality hotels primarily for the last-minute mobile market, with deals available in 120 cities in 24 countries across Europe and the US. The JustBook mobile app for iOS and Android has also been downloaded over a million times, and made the iTunes ‘best of 2012’ list.
In January this year, we decided that it’d be a great idea to acquire JustBook. By merging their brilliant mobile tech wizardry and first-class team with our own, we’re able to offer our combined membership great flash sales as well as last-minute hotel bookings, via desktop, tablet or mobile. We want to replicate the successes of both companies internationally, and it’s a very exciting journey.
Alex Saint, CEO