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Groupon For Your Camp? No Thanks!

Just in case you’re not a member of our Summer Camp Marketing Tips group on Facebook, I wanted to make this quick post about Groupon, Living Social and all the other social network discount sites. (Our group was discussing this earlier today, so I wanted to make a quick point here.)

I am aware of at least one camp who partnered with Living Social last year. I believe they sold a lot of camp enrollments through the deal, but I don’t know if they were happy with the outcome or it was beneficial.

I have personally been approached at least 10 times by Living Social and Groupon over the past 3 years to run promotions with them. I almost took the bait several times, but thankfully backed out at the last minute at least twice.

Truth is, I’m still trying to find business owner (and I know lots of them) who’s actually happy they participated in a Groupon or Living Social promotion. A popular pizza place in my area of Los Angeles did a Groupon deal twice last year, but they’re not popular anymore because they went out of business after doing the Groupon promo.

In fact one thing I’ve learned is that Groupon and Living Social are typically only good for big companies who can withstand the financial loss generally incurred by participating. For example, a McDonald’s restaurant near me is doing a deal with Living Social right now. I was in their store just yesterday with my kids and overheard the manager talking with her employee about how the deal is generating lots of sales, but costing them money to run it. And that’s a business killer any way you look at it.

A year or so ago I found this blog post about working with Groupon. If you are considering doing so, read this first. It paints a telling story of the Groupon process including the good and bad of entering into a deal with them.

If I were you, I wouldn’t do it, but perhaps you’ll see it differently. Let me know what you think.


  1. Anonymous Anonymous February 15, 2012

    Great blog and article link and very helpful in understanding how Groupon works. Thanks!

  2. Sarah Sarah February 15, 2012

    Cool site and great idea. Lots of camps struggle with marketing. Ditch the spammy ads though.

  3. Anonymous Anonymous March 12, 2012

    If your item offered is a high enough price it works well. We are a sleepaway camp and we sold over 30 deals last year for no less than 1,100 and we have found 70 % of those have re-registered this summer for full price and longer sessions. It isn;t for everyone, I agree but it can work for summer camps, comparing mc donalds to summer camp is apples and oranges.

  4. July 13, 2012

    I was thinking of doing groupon to get the word out on a gymnastic's program we launched. A friend told me that Groupon can destroy a business and to be careful. During research your blog popped up. I am reflecting on your thoughts that Groupon is perhaps best left to the big boys.

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