Online travel shoppers now have a new platform to access sought-after destinations at unbeatable prices, with the launch of LivingSocial Escapes (escapes.livingsocial.com). Within 24 hours of the launch a retreat in Victoria’s wine country sold out at 100 coupons. Just as LivingSocial introduces its members to new services, experiences and attractions at discounts of at least 50 percent, LivingSocial Escapes will now help anyone find one-of-a-kind day trips, packaged “nearcations”, quick escapes that don’t require air-travel, or weekend excursions they might not typically pursue. Travel deals are available for one week – not just for 24 hours like LivingSocial daily deals. Initially, travel deals will be predominantly on Australia’s eastern seaboard, with expansions planned across Australia and New Zealand. To enhance the social experience, LivingSocial’s “me+3=free” referral model allows users to get their experience for free if they refer three friends who also participate in the deal. In addition to Australian escapes, LivingSocial Escapes offers getaways to destinations in Europe, the UK, the USA, South America and Central America. LivingSocial Australia and New Zealand CEO Colin Fabig says the launch of LivingSocial Escapes follows its overwhelming popularity in the US, where more than 100,000 rooms are sold per destination. “With the enthusiasm shown by Aussie shoppers for LivingSocial daily deals and experiences, it made sense to bring LivingSocial’s curated approach to Aussie travel deals using the same winning formula,” says Colin. “Time out is special and LivingSocial Escapes will bring shoppers covetable travel destinations at never-before-seen prices. Each travel experience on LivingSocial Escapes is authentic, accessible and requires minimal planning,” he says. LivingSocial has been bringing unbelievable deals and experiences to Australian subscribers since launching in November last year. In April 2011 LivingSocial launched into New Zealand, and now brings a deal each day to more than 30 areas in Australia and New Zealand. It has an email database of over 1.5million people and over 700,000 Facebook fans, all of whom will receive notification of the new travel deals as part of LivingSocial’s daily deals mailout. Related Link: LivingSocial Escapes