I was chatting with a friend today about discounts. She has plenty of money and likes to buy nice things.
Sometimes I can’t quite believe how much she will spend on a piece of furniture or clothes… but she likes quality and works hard, so fair enough!
The odd thing though is that she always hunts around for a bargain when it comes to holidays. She still stays somewhere nice of course but for some reason I can’t explain, her brain switches as soon as that purchase is a trip away.
Last night she spent three hours trawling the internet for deals, spoke to three travel agents and sent a few emails to hotels. But during the day I know she walked into a handbag shop, saw one she liked, picked it up and took it to the till.
Never would it occur to her to reach the till and say: “How much do you want for this?” Instead she looked at the price tag and then paid that amount.
She also had a rather nice lunch. But at the end of lunch she didn’t look at the bill and then call the waiter over to negotiate a better price.
In so many walks of life she – and let’s face it lots of people who like luxury – consume in a very clear fashion. They pay the amount asked for. Except when it comes to travel and suddenly lots of people lose their minds and think they’re suddenly in the souk in Marrakech bartering like a market trader.
I don’t know when this started or why but I must admit I’m occasionally guilty too.
But why do hotels put up with it? Why do so many accept a lower price?
The answer of course is that a hotel room goes off pretty fast. A June 2014 hotel room is not much use come July. Lovely hotels are expensive to run and have a large number of staff who get paid no matter how many rooms are full. And yet if a room doesn’t have anyone in it those costs don’t go away. So whereas a lovely clothes shop can just keep the stock and wait till someone comes in and buys it, hotels have to be a lot more cunning. They have to keep prices high enough to make a profit but also make sure as many rooms as possible have people sleeping in the beds.
Support the hotel by committing to it and they will support you back to say thank you. How lovely.
So my advice is to forget the sales, save yourself hours of trawling the internet, stop looking for late bargains and book early.