The Travel Business is Funny

Who in travel hasn’t said, “I’ve got to write a book.” This is usually followed by, “It’ll be hilarious, but nobody will believe any of it is true.”

I just finished reading the funniest article in Travel Weekly, of all places. “Group Deals Soar Amid Online Debate” is a report on a recent Traveltech conference session about travel deal and group buying sites. And I just had to share it with all the hoteliers who regularly read Hospitality Marketing Blog.

According to this article:

  • Sam Yip, senior research manager a Telsyte told the audience that the popularity of the deals was, “due to the interactive format of the deal rather that the value.”

What a comic!  If group buying sites let hotels offer 10% discounts instead of 30 – 50% would people still flock to these sites because they are interactive or “because they like the channel?” Stop it, you’re hurting me.

  • According to the article, “Dean McEvoy, founder of group buying website Spreets, told a panel discussion that consumers are driven not by rates but a “great experience.”

I’m bending over in laughter. So hoteliers could double their rates and just make sure they offer “a great experience.” Be sure to make the buying process a great experience too.

  • Mr. McEvoy goes on to say that additional components such as meals and outings are “key” to the deal’s success.

Stop the presses! The same things that make a hotel’s own promotions work also work when you’re giving away rooms at 50% off. Knock me over with a feather! I never would have guessed.

  • One of the panelists put forth the proposition that his partners (that means you, if you’re a hotelier), “have to convert the group-buying customers, turning them into loyal customers.”

Insanely funny! After a guest gets an outlandish discount the hotelier is tasked with turning them into a loyal repeat guest. The only loyalty that guest will have will be to the Deal Site. See the world…at a discount. Why would they ever pay full price, or even a reasonable price again?

While all of these arguments are insanely funny there is, unfortunately, a very sad ending to this story.  The truth is, hoteliers are complicit in helping train travelers to only buy when there is a deeply discounted deal.

Plenty of research points to the Perils of Marketing on Price .  Good reading next time you’re thinking about doing it.

Participating in Deal Sites and offering deep discounts is easy, but it doesn’t build your business. Read the research. Hotels that maintained rate or increased it were the ones that most likely increased RevPAR over the past two years.

  • They are the ones that provided the highest degree of perceived value.
  • They are the ones that did the hard work and followed best marketing practices.
  • They didn’t compete on price.
  • And they are the ones that reaped the rewards.

I’ve got to write a book!

What do you think?

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