Photographer: Oliver Bunic/Bloomberg

Google-Backed Luxury-Trip Site Secret Escapes Buys German Rival

Google Inc.-backed Secret Escapes Ltd., a U.K. online travel site focusing on luxury trips, is taking over German rival Travista to expand in Europe’s biggest economy.

The purchase from Christian Funk Holding gives Secret Escapes about 500,000 additional members in Germany, Stefan Menden, the company’s managing director in the country, said in an interview. Secret Escapes has 19 million users, 2 million of them in Germany. No price was disclosed.

"Travista, with its hotel and trip flash sales, has a business model that’s very similar to ours,” Menden said. “Synergy effects will help us expand our offering in Germany on both portals.”

Germany is the second-most popular destination for European travelers behind Spain, according to the German National Tourist Board. Online bookings rose to 66 percent of global reservations last year, with smartphone trip purchasing also growing. London-based Secret Escapes offers discounted rates on members-only flash sales for luxury travel by selling vacant rooms.

The company got $60 million in funding from investors including Google Ventures and Octopus Investments in July. It has bought Travelist in Poland and seeks to expand further in Europe, Menden said.

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