Wednesday, November 4, 2009 announce...another sale

Accommodation providers are being invited to partake in "one-off" promotions by Online Travel Agent (OTA) on an increasingly regular basis.

The "Wotif Under $99" promotion went live to the public from 30th October and is active until 8th November 2009. This promotion followed on from this year's " 5-Day Sale" in June and the "7-day Ridiculous Rates Sale" in August that both promoted deals that were at least 50% off the rack rate.

This time, will be launching their "So Low, Just Go Sale" just 2-days after their current "Under $99" promotion. The "So Low, Just Go Sale" will be available to the public from Tuesday 10th to Monday 16th November 2009. To take part in the promotion, suppliers are again required to offer the now familiar formula of at least 50% off the rack rate. seem to be setting a trend of partnering up with Tourism New Zealand on every second promotion and this time it is their turn to go it alone. The sale will be promoted through advertising featuring on all the major radio stations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Further promotional support will be by Wotif newsletters sent to its vast database of clients, website buttons on the website, press releases and use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter. will be aware that they have been accused by some accommodation operators of normalising expectations of deep discounting in the accommodation industry with successive promotions purely based on slashing tariff.

With this in mind have qualified their latest 50%-off promotion by communicating to suppliers: "We understand that this promotion is not for everyone but we just wanted to give you the opportunity to participate." Fair enough.

Discounting room rates is a temporary solution and may fill some empty rooms, but the consequences can be severe with a negative affect on future profits.

Unlike our airline cousins, the accommodation industry by lowering rates does not necessarily create new demand. Discounting may only redistribute guests amongst suppliers and does not succeed in bringing new guests to the market.

Rather than berate, maybe accommodation industry should be looking at themselves.

We suggest that operators do not need to slash tariff on but would recommend that accommodation providers continue to use several OTA's as a valuable marketing tool. In our opinion it is not necessary to follow the small scrum of operators that regularly drop their pants on these platforms. 

OTA's still provide excellent exposure and yield for savvy operators that sex-up their offer and add value. Believe it or not the majority of punters that purchase accommodation from an OTA are not looking for the cheapest sub $100 offer.

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