On 18 June, HOSPA hosted a Revenue Management Community discussion at Le Méridien Piccadilly, London, on the use of ‘Flash Sales’ to boost business.
At the event, Suzie Wotton – Vice President of Marketing, Red Carnation Hotels – chaired a panel of leading ‘Flash Sales’ practitioners to enable hoteliers to find out more about the issues involved. The expert panel comprised: Nick Stafford, General Manager, Escapes Europe – Living Social; John Bevan, Managing Director – Voyage Privé; Richard Singer, Commercial Director, Europe – Travelzoo; Dr. Remo Gerber, Director – Groupon; and Dan Evans, Head of Contracting – Secret Escapes.
Introducing the discussion, Suzie Wotton said: “Flash Sales may be hugely popular among budget-minded travellers, but the hotel industry is still strongly divided. A recent survey by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration determined that 42% of hotel operators had at least tried flash deals, but 46% of hotel operators said they had no intention of offering them. The remaining 12% were considering using flash sales. Flash Sales boast incremental revenue, brand exposure and new customers for hotels. However, hotel representatives claim the drawbacks to flash sales are that the discounts may be too deep, don’t necessarily entice guests to return and may create false expectations for lower rates in the future.”
Some of the key outcomes from the discussion included:
Not all Flash Sales on offer are the same
Flash Sales do not involve necessarily a standard hotel room offer – can include all other types.
The panellists claim that the key to a successful deal comes through working closely with hoteliers, tailoring a deal to their needs whilst ensuring that the discounts are sustainable and the offers suit and work for all parties
Hoteliers need to decide which Flash Sales partner suits them best and to find this out they need to do their research through referrals, testimonials etc.
Though Flash Sales are heavily discounted, they can bring in additional revenue through guests using the hotel’s services and facilities
Panellists claimed that Flash Sales can bring access to new markets for a hotelier (from local to global)
Not all guests taking up Flash Sales offers are necessarily ‘bargain hunters’ looking for a one-off experience, as many hoteliers fear
Panellists claimed that usually there was no cost to the hotel until the guest took up a Flash Sales offer; and cost issues could be resolved to everyone’s mutual benefit through working closely with the hotelier and putting together the right deal
Usually no overlap between Flash Sales partners’ targeted membership lists and a hotel’s existing loyal guest data base, avoiding alienation of existing loyal customers
Panel warned about texting sales messages on mobiles for reasons of quality and poor response –people increasingly looking to Apps in this respect. Also avoid email messaging fatigue!
We want to hear from you
Given, the findings of the recent survey by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, HOSPA, we would like to hear from you:
1. Are you using Flash Sales? If so how successful are they proving and why?
2. In another two years, do you think that the work of existing hotel sales and marketing
teams will be replaced largely by OTAs, Flash Sales partners and excellent well designed productive websites?