Archive for July, 2013, still as relevant as ever.

July 24, 2013


In the world of purchasing travel everyone has been taken for a ride once or twice.  Even the most frugal and savvy amongst us don’t know, and can’t know what pricing surprise is about to occur a day, a week or a month from now.  The entire industry has gone through what can only be called a dynamic rearrangement of consumer behavior in the past 5 years.  Advance planning is on the wane, and last minute impulse (hey, I still have a job) is growing each and every day.  It is true that some of the more paranoid individuals do things way, way in advance but that crowd is now down to a fraction of what it was ten years ago.  Sure people understand that travel product spoils like fruit and the older or closer to utilization it come, the less it is truly worth.  These days, even products that never discounted now are creating more and more, “specials” because it is important to get every last dollar of revenue possible. 

Understanding this new dynamic, is in the perfect place to help intrepid, engaged travelers save money.  We do require a certain, higher level of engagement than most other “deal centric” sites, but in our case that extra work converts directly to dollars saved by the consumer.  If you want to save, you have to take these simple steps:

  1. Read the offer carefully
  2. Study the value of the product you are interested in on some other sites.
  3. Bid with your head, not over it.
  4. Understand that the entire process from initial bid to confirmation can take a bit of time.

These four easy steps have been managed by millions of winners over our tenure.  Sure, some people come to the site and want to win for the $1 starting price but while we control the starting price we don’t control the ending price, all of you do that.

So if you are serious about purchasing travel for less, by now (after 14 years) you should have gotten to know us.  If you haven’t and somehow you come across this piece, click here to see our latest round of $1 offers.  We are only just getting started!

When common sense loses out…

July 18, 2013


After being in this crazy tourism business there are a few unstated rules you understand but never fail to ignore.  One of the understood principles it that travel is a subjective experience and what is great for one really sucks for someone else.  There is little you can do to prepare yourself for the inevitable complaints about something you have sold hundreds of times before flawlessly, only to have it blow up on you when you least expect it.

Review sites point out this in a very dramatic fashion.  I know that of course, many of these sites are loaded with brilliant, glowing endorsements written by contracted staff or “ghost reviewers”. By the same token many of the glaring bad reviews are written by competitors employing “blog saboteurs” whose only role is to make the other guy look really bad.  On some occasions however, the actual guest sees everything in a very different way.  Perhaps he is used to staying at Ritz Carlton, but just decided to check out the motel 6 for this particular trip.  Just maybe they got such a good deal they thought, “What the hell” and purchased something outside of what they would do normally.  Either way, it is usually quiet impossible to tell as with all things blog, track record could be completely fabricated and fictional or totally non-existent.

I have written on the dangers of review sites before, yet they grow in strength and numbers every day.  I have even made the mistake of directing customers, friends and family to do their own research prior to purchase only to end up with shock, surprise and dare I say, crap as a result.  Aren’t we all responsible for our own choices?  Is there anything objective about travel other than getting someone to a place, getting them a room and services they paid for?  Even these elements aren’t a slam dunk, usually due to what someone “thought” they would be getting.  How it looks when you are there may not be entirely the picture you had in your mind’s eye.  Travel is about the experience, and expectations and perceptions are just that, not real.

I know it is wrong to rant, to blame others for their misconceptions and expectations.  Dream on, book that $1,000 per night hotel room for $100, I am sure it is the same, exact thing!  Maybe, just maybe value isn’t at all in the place or the food or the room, maybe it is in the experience you have with those you are travelling with or those you meet along the way.  That is the only real reason to travel, after all.