2021 marks the ten-year anniversary of Secret Escapes.
Since our launch in 2011 we have welcomed over 60 million members globally and delivered great value deals on dream escapes to some of the most incredible destinations around the world. While a lot has changed over the past decade, one thing still remains the same; we’re committed to delivering irresistible discounts on luxury travel to help our members discover corners of the world they might never have imagined.
To celebrate, we’re looking back over our key milestones from the past ten years. We’re incredibly proud of the company we have built, the people we have employed and the successes we’ve all contributed to along the way; from hiring our very first employee (Dan Evans, who is still part of the team), to reaching our 5 million member mark and acquiring the businesses that make up the Secret Escapes Group today.
We’ve been financially supported by some of the world’s greatest investors: legendary venture capital firms such as Index Ventures, global powerhouses like Temasek, no greater household name than Google and (among others) the UK’s greatest home-grown venture capital success story, Octopus Ventures. They have believed in us, celebrated success with us, stood by us in tough times, and have truly been an integral part of the Secret Escapes story.
The big one! Day one. The Secret Escapes Group launched and our website went live in the UK with just 5 deals (they must have been good ones!).
We launched our very first TV ad – the one everyone remembers to this day. Starring Camilla Arfwedson, whispering a slogan that has since become synonymous with our brand, “the worst kept secret in luxury travel”.
We expanded into Europe and Scandinavia, with Secret Escapes launching sites in Germany, shortly followed by Sweden. In just two short years, we had reached over 5 million members in the UK, Germany and Sweden.
We acquired two new brands, Travelist (a flash deals brand in Poland) and Germany-based JustBook, a mobile-based specialist in business travel sector bookings.
We expanded even more with Secret Escapes launching in Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, and later in the year, the US.
We expanded to four new territories; Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium.
We spread our wings in Asia, expanded to France and made more moves in Eastern Europe.
We acquired 100% of Slevomat Group (Slevomat.cz, Zlavomat.sk and Skrz.cz), Central and Eastern Europe’s leading travel deals and experiences company.
We acquired the assets of TravelBird and restarted the website as part of the Secret Escapes Group.
We launched our iOS App in January 2019.
We acquired Empathy Marketing Limited, welcoming Ireland’s leading marketplace for premium hospitality and e-commerce into the Secret Escapes Group.
We appointed Kate Swann, as Chair of the Secret Escapes board.
We sent 6 billion emails to our members this year alone!
The global COVID-19 pandemic turned the world of travel upside down, but in the face of adversity, the Secret Escapes team rose to the challenge, helping over 100,000 members in a single month.
When lockdowns eased, we inspired our members with a wide range of refundable deals – perfect for a ‘Staycation Summer’ to get around international travel restrictions.
In November, we launched our Android app!
We bounced back after the toughest 18 months faced by the travel industry, offering a wide range of domestic and international stays to our travel-hungry audience.
The Secret Escapes Group sustained strong performance despite months of widespread uncertainty and changing guidance on where and when people could travel.
Looking back over the past ten years shows just how far we’ve come, but we certainly aren’t slowing down yet.
As we return to the office, trialling our new, more flexible way of working, we’re excited to see our core values, ‘We are good people’ and ‘We make stuff happen’ continue to be at the centre of what we do. We look forward to sharing plenty more irresistible deals on luxury (albeit not-so secret any more) escapes with you in the years to come!