Lime&Tonic joins Big Red Group’s ballooning portfolio of experience brands

RedBalloon parent company Big Red Group (BRG) has acquired its third experience brand in less than a year, with the addition of Lime&Tonic to its portfolio this week.

Announced on Wednesday, the purchase follows BRG’s acquisition of Adrenaline, a marketplace for adventure experiences, in November 2018, and IfOnly, a marketplace for experiences benefiting charitable causes, in June 2019.

Lime&Tonic focuses on dining, spas and other social events and experiences in Sydney and Melbourne, which Big Red Group co-founder Naomi Simson said is one of the fastest growing segments in the experience economy.

“Gourmet dining and pamper experiences is what Lime&Tonic is known for, and we know from our other brands that these are two of the fastest-growing segments in the experience economy,” Simson said in a statement.

“The Lime&Tonic brand will allow the group to serve customers a broader range of experiences, curated on behalf of our customers.”

Big Red Group, which Simson co-founded in 2017 following the growth of her original online experience marketplace RedBalloon, claims to serve an experience every 49 seconds in Australia.

The company, which also includes Marketics, the exclusive distributor of ‘Albert’ AI in Australia, and REDii, a platform to reward employees, aims to serve an experience somewhere in the world every second by 2025, and says the acquisition of Lime&Tonic is another step towards achieving that goal.

BRG is set to serve more than 600,000 experiences in FY20, according to the company. The group’s brands represent more than 2000 experience partners and offer more than 7000 experiences across Australia and New Zealand.

While the trend of younger consumers prioritising spending on experiences over material products has benefited companies like BRG, they now face increased competition, as more businesses look to tap into the experience economy.

“Every aspect of Australian retail is facing increased competition from global players, and this is no different for experiences,” Simson said.

“To compete in the experience economy Australian brands must be of a size that allows capital investment for growth, and working together is one way to achieve this.”

BRG CEO and co-founder David Anderson said the company is rolling out a multi-brand strategy that will enable a central supply group to serve different customer needs via different experience brands.

“We have a big vision for the next five years, both domestically and globally, and we’re excited to support Australian businesses along the way,” he said.

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