Comment: Discounting is a bad deal for travel

Comment: Discounting is a bad deal for travel

The industry needs to say no deals and discounts and sell the best experiences, says Tauck’s vice-president of global sales Steve Spivak

Everywhere we look there are “opportunities” for travellers to save money. “Two for one”, “pay now and save”, “2018 at 2017 prices” and free air are just a few of the more common offers filling the pages of travel sections and web advertisements.

When was the last time you saw a newspaper advertisement for a travel product that didn’t feature a deal, a discount or an offer? It all makes you wonder, what is the real price of the products these operators are selling? And more importantly, what is the real value of a brand that can’t reconcile the fair retail price of its products?

We’ve all become wary of the airline pricing model that utilises a variety of fare rules and revenue management strategies to fill seats.  We know that the person sitting next to us in a seemingly identical seat, may have paid half as much as we did or just as likely twice as much.

Because airline seats are now a commodity, we accept this as circumstantial and we don’t get emotionally effected by that reality; we are numb to it.

Now imagine you’ve booked the trip of a lifetime. You planned for a year, compared all the brands, consulted with your trusted travel advisor and you’ve happily parted with £20,000 for a suite on a Vienna to Prague river cruise.

On the second night you meet a lovely couple who proudly share that they booked the same cruise six months ago and got a 2-for-1 deal.  All of a sudden you are left questioning the brand’s integrity, the quality of your travel agent, and your own decision to book this trip you have waited a lifetime to enjoy.

This is a highly emotional disappointment and one that should never happen.  Unfortunately, we in the travel industry allow this to happen and in fact create the environment of acceptance that enables this.

Discounting has never and will never generate demand.  In fact it lessens the perceived value of brands and experiences.  It is the classic example of leaving money on the table in the form of commission.

Chances are your clients never walk into your office saying “I’m here today to save money.”  In fact your clients come to you for exactly the opposite of that, they come to spend money…wisely.

We as an industry have an opportunity to represent the full worth of the non- commoditized experiences we offer by saying no to all the deals and discounts and selling what we believe to be the best experience.

Remember, every time you sell a product at a discount you are also offering your services at a discount.  Unless your landlord is offering “2018 at 2017 prices”‘ that is a model none of us can afford to embrace.

Remember, quality is always worth paying for and value has so many more components than price alone.

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