Secret Escapes, the UK luxury travel ‘flash sales’ site that offers members heavy discounts on luxury hotels and holidays, has quietly acquired 3-year-old My City Venue to bolster the events side of its business.
The purchase price isn’t being disclosed, however, although Secret Escapes co-founder Troy Collins tells me the company has acquired the “entire business”, and that the founders of My City Venue will be moving on after a “handover period” and with the startup’s operations being taken over by Secret Escapes.
Interestingly, the acquisition hasn’t been formally announced, aside from emails that went out to My City Venue’s existing members and partners, informing them of the change of ownership.
Founded by Ronald Ndoro and William Sachiti, and launched in 2011, UK-based My City Venue lets users find and book a night out, pitching itself as a kind of ‘digital concierge service’ by consolidating the whole process and moving it online.
It works with over 1,200 venues in the UK, supporting the purchase of tickets and extra features, such as the ability to ‘jump the queue’, at certain exclusive events and night clubs.
Competitors include legacy offerings such as TimeOut and ViewLondon, and, presumably, upstarts such as YPlan.
Explaining the thinking behind the acquisition, Secret Escapes’ Collins notes that there’s a lot of overlap between travel and events, and that the company already combines hotel and theatre packages, as an example. “We’re excited about the prospect of the acquisition allowing us to do more of this,” he says. “However, the core of Secret Escapes will always remain luxury travel deals. We’ve built a brand awareness in the UK of 60 percent as a travel deals business and we have no intention of changing that.”
Backed by VCs Index Ventures, Octopus Ventures and Atlas Venture, this is the second acquisition Secret Escapes has made. In January, it purchased Germany’s JustBook, a mobile-first hotel booking app, and which shared an investor in Index.