Zeroing In On Niche Daily Deal Websites: Adventure Travel, Luxury and More



Daily deal websites aren’t only for the masses. From adventure travel to high-end shopping, a host of new group discount services are emerging to cater to niche markets.

These sites aren’t nearly the size Groupon and LivingSocial in terms of subscribers, but what sets them apart is a focus on markets that so far have been underserved by the daily deal  crowd.

“There’s a huge demand potential in niche markets,” says Jodi Samuels, founder of, a New York-based website targeting the Jewish community. “It may be somewhat limited by demographics in terms of it will never reach the Groupon scale, but there’s a potential to reach hundreds of thousands of people.”

Take, an adventure travel site based in Minneapolis, Minn. Launched earlier this month, aims to brining tour operators and adventure travelers together to offer discounts of as much as 50% on travel destinations. doesn’t work quite like Groupon (and most of its competitors), in that it charges a $50 booking fee, which would then go toward the price of the trip. As more and more people join the tour, the price for the trip gets lower.  According to Andrew Atkin,’s chief executive officer, if four to six people join the tour the discount is typically around 15% to 20%. If 10 or more join, the trip is usually discounted by 25% to 50%.

The tours will usually be available on the website for a few days and once the deal is closed, everybody will get the discount.  Since launching on January 1, Atkin says the company, which has 100 tour operators as clients and a membership of several hundred thousand consumers, has booked 20 tours.

Socially responsible deals

For many consumers, buying products and services from companies considered to be socially responsible matters. Recognizing that, Brent Freeman launched Los Angeles-based, geared to those who want to engage in responsible shopping.

“Prior to the group buying phenomenon, this is something I was passionate about,” says Freeman. “Group buying is a great way to get across the same information.” offers consumers deals from companies that are eco-friendly, humanitarian, community conscious, or have strong ethics in terms of employee practices and satisfaction.

The website already has tens of thousands of members, with membership growing by more than 1,000 people a day, says Freeman.  Unlike Groupon and LivingSocial, which tend to focus on local merchants, features products from national retailers and websites.

“The whole idea and mission of is to inspire and empower social entrepreneurs to succeed,” Freeman says.

Religion-based deals

JDeal, which launched at the end of November, offers daily deals for the Jewish consumer market: a niche ignored by the more mass-market websites. “A kosher restaurant isn’t something typically on the daily deal sites,” says Samuels. 

Currently is only in the New York City, but Samuels says the company plans to launch in South Florida, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Toronto, Montreal and possibly Boston in the next eighteen months. It has 5,000 members and a month’s worth of deals in the pipeline. Past deals included $25 for $50 worth of groceries at a kosher supermarket, discounts on Jewish music classes and kosher wine deals.

Discounts on the high end

Groupon may give consumers deep discounts on cheap products, but New York-based’s deals are focused on higher-end products and services. “You won’t find happy hour shots but you will find a nice Italian restaurant,” says Tamara Rosenthal, the site’s executive director of brand marketing. For instance, Rosenthal says it wouldn’t be unusual to find a deal like $100 for a $200.  The site is currently in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Boston, but plans to expand into other cities in the future.

In addition to local deals, has an online member-only shopping site with three million members where it offers limited-time sales on high-end brands in apparel, accessories, home beauty, travel and kids. New brands are featured each day in sales that kick off at 12:00 p.m. EST. Sales last forty hours or until the items are sold out. Members can save up to 80%.

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