Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Flash Sales – the future of hotel booking?

Short quick sales are becoming ever more popular as Europe sits in austerity measures and travelers seek the best deals to make their money go further. Redundancies, limited pay-rises and lack of opportunities means that we need to make our money go much further.

At the same time, hotels are finding the markets difficult, this means that they are trying new techniques to sell their hotel product. So it is an interesting time as new business models emerge and travelers may get more opportunities.

These Flash Sales offer great deals for a very limited time, they can often have much tougher terms and conditions to many other offers that can make it difficult for travelers to cash-in their voucher. Yet some hotels are seeing this as a great way to promote their hotel and show travelers what they can offer.

One hotel I spoke to offered 75% off their standard rate, and this is in London – what a potentially excellent deal. But as a traveler it is really worth price shopping and seeing what rates are on the market, across traditional booking channels, for the time you want to travel just in case this deal isn’t quite as amazing as it is being sold to you.

A few places you can find these interesting deals include Secret Escapes, Group On, Living Social, Voyageprive.com and Travel Zoo. I attended an event last night by HOSPA – an association for hoteliers to find out more.

Tapping into travelers with a budget mindset is ideal as the speed of purchase encourages them to buy faster. However if you receive a voucher it needs to be redeemed, otherwise you lose the money, especially if it is out of the dates stated in the T&Cs.

As a traveler – pick the website that represents your desired travel products. Can you afford 4 star hotels or only something more budget – you may not expect as amazing deals as you expect for 4 star, they still market to those that can afford it.

As an hotelier – you do need to think of what brand represents your hotel. You need to agree with the supplier a sustainable pricing model on the discount and commission the website charges. Don’t get surprised if the results don’t come in as you expect, nothing worse than planning booking based on a pure marketing promotion.

It is very likely as travelers we will see these deals come through thick and fast, if you have a birthday celebration, anniversary coming up in a few months then they maybe worth looking into. Always check the fine print. Calling the hotel to cash-in the voucher or complete the booking will help secure the right dates.

Also it is important to note that some of these deals are only for weekdays and traditionally very quiet periods for the hotel, so expect there maybe a different atmosphere – and you may just get personal service from this.

Good luck with the Flash sales – tell me your experiences.