PART 1 OF A TWO-PART SERIES ON GROUPON: Groupon: Overhyped and Little Understood


A Beast is Born

Everything that everyone has told you about Groupon is wrong. I know, because in writing this article, I must confess it was true for me, too.

Groupon, to all us aerial park professionals, has been predominantly one-dimensional. Its name immediately connotes “cheap,” and we often judge those who use it as “failing businesses.”

For some operators, using Groupon can feel as shameful as sneaking out of bed in the middle of the night to eat chocolate cake still left in the fridge…with your bare hands.

We’re all used to a singular tale of this notorious deal site as a “necessary evil.” But in reality, Groupon is no such demon.

In this article, we’ll focus primarily on debunking the “evil” part of the equation. In Part II, we’ll dive deeper into the question of Groupon’s “necessity” for zip lines and aerial adventure parks.

Groupon Myths Debunked

We’re used to thinking that Groupon customers are cheap. “The first association you make is negative,” says marketing veteran Mat Newton, founder of TourismTiger.

There’s a stereotype that Groupon guests expect far more than the average customer that pays full price. Many zip and aerial tour consultants will warn that these guests could have serious repercussions on your brand, since they’re known for leaving overwhelmingly negative reviews.

Why do we hold these beliefs? Chances are, it’s because you or someone you know has heard of a Groupon-related fiasco before. You’ve probably come across a TripAdvisor review that looks something like this:



But let’s step back for a second and rethink this logic. If someone buys a tour at a discount, wouldn’t we expect that they’d be more appreciative, or more easily pleased than the person that paid twice as much for the same experience? According to a study from the Journal of Consumer Psychology, “discounts increase purchase satisfaction” thanks to a powerful, little feeling called “fairness.”

But we’ve come to think of Groupon customers as different—they wouldn’t know fairness if it hit them over the head!

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About Author

Julia Barrero is a contributing columnist for Adventure Park Insider and the head of marketing at Xola, the booking and marketing software that zip lines, adventure parks, and other tour operators. Julia is also the lead writer behind Xola University, a business and marketing blog for tour industry professionals. She claims to have a writer's heart and a scientist's brain, which makes her a natural marketer. She specializes in data analysis for tour and activity companies. Through her blog posts, she hopes to turn tour operators everywhere into Jedi Marketing Masters.

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