November 10, 2010, 9:03 AM

LivingSocial launches a travel deals site

The offering builds on Urban Escapes, which the company bought last month.

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Daily deal web site operator LivingSocial today launched LivingSocial Escapes, a travel site that sells vacation packages, many of which don’t require air travel. The launch builds on LivingSocial’s October acquisition of Urban Escapes, a company that sells what it calls social adventures.

Consumers will receive LivingSocial Escapes’ deals in a newsletter every Wednesday. Unlike the deals on LivingSocial, which typically last 24 hours, consumers will have a week to purchase the offer.

“Since these are trips that consumers might want to coordinate with their friends or discuss with their spouse, we felt we needed to give them a longer timeline,” says Tim O’Shaughnessy, LivingSocial CEO.

The site will feature the same referral model as LivingSocial. If a consumer refers three friends who participate in the deal, he will receive his offer for free.

While LivingSocial will have Living Escapes offers in each of its more than 100 U.S. markets, several markets will share the same deal because many cities share potential vacation spots that are within driving distance of both markets, says O’Shaughnessy. For instance, By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages, a bed-and-breakfast in Harrisonburg, VA is within driving distance of Richmond, VA and Washington, DC.

The offers will be a mix of package offers, such as a hotel and ski lift ticket, and those that the daily deal site produces themselves, which, in some cases, may include a LivingSocial guide.

“We want to offer something that is unique—this isn’t just a room at a hotel,” he says.

Carving out a unique niche is likely to be important because the site faces growing competition. For instance, earlier this week private sale site Hautelook launched a travel site.

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