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When, where and how the travel industry should be using special offers

For travel professionals, persuading people to travel should be easy. But sometimes even the opportunity to see different landscapes, taste other cultures, or experience thrill-seeking activities isn’t convincing enough.


Enter special offers. Consumers everywhere enjoy a bargain – but how much should the travel industry rely on discounts to sell their products and services?



Special offers for off-peak travel

One of the main discounts that the travel industry utilizes are cheap packages during the off-season. Every destination has a period of inactivity – largely due to the weather. So, travel agents sell flights and hotels at reduced prices to fill the rooms. Bus and coach companies offer similar offers. 

By choosing a less busy time to travel, the customer can make a saving while the company has someone on the otherwise empty seat. As discount booking sites show, some flights seem almost unbelievably cheap – that’s usually because they take twice times as long as they could and have multiple stops. But if the customer is willing to take such a journey, then they could save a lot with smaller airlines


Special offers to create loyalty

Some hotels rely on building up their customer base, so offer discounts to boost membership in their loyalty schemes. Travelodge in the UK, for example, offers 10% off each booking just for signing up to their mailing list. For Travelodge, this measure helps ensure that the customer will consider their properties for their next stay (as an email a day seems a small price to pay for a 10% discount).


Special offers to secure customers

Travel agencies often encourage customers to book early and sometimes even apply a discount to a booking immediately upon a client’s return from another holiday. This ensures that the agent has something booked in for the next year – and if the customer doesn’t mind a long wait for the holiday, they may save money.

This kind of offer works to secure the customer in advance. It also means that you can upsell to them as the year progresses, through travel money, insurance, or even luggage. However, some customers are savvy to when the cheapest time to book a flight is, so they may want to hold off. 


Special offers work in digital spaces

Discounts are especially prolific in modern industries – or at least among those that exist on digital platforms. For example, streaming services like Netflix, Spotify and Kayo are known for their free trials.

Elsewhere, online shopping outlets have to present something upfront to stand out from their competitors. This could be a discount if the customer buys whatever is in their basket within a limited time, or just free shipping for purchases over a certain amount.  

The online gaming industry uses similar offers. As this mega list of new casinos launched in New Zealand shows, many provide some kind of welcome bonus or special offer. Indeed, the offers range from $100 deposits to $1,000 bonuses, free spins, and even no-deposit spins for specific slot games. When making their decisions, customers may refer to these offers and decide on a site purely for what they may gain through a generous welcome bonus. 


It seems in every industry nowadays you must give something to get something - you must speculate to accumulate. In travel, it’s no exception. Whether the special offer is to ensure the retention of customers or to poach them from a competitor, the travel industry should utilize any discount tools at its disposal.  


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Published: 5 October 2020

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