23 Nov 2014 | Digital editions, magazines, websites, e-zines, handbooks and contract publishing for the leisure industry

Leisure Opportunities issue 645, 2014 is now out!

Blogs:

Read blogs by writer:

Kate Cracknell
Editor,
Health Club Management

Liz Terry
Editor

Tim Nash
Head of Leisure Media Studio

Jak Phillips
Head of News,
Leisure Media

Katie Barnes
Managing Editor,
Spa Business

Our guest writers:

Eva McDiarmid
Chief Executive,
ASVA

Aleatha Ezra
Director of park member development,
World Waterpark Association

Jennifer Fields
Communications Coordinator,
Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Maria Zolotonosa
Project Manager,
Ecsite

Kurt Janson
Policy Director,
Tourism Alliance

Peter Ducker
Chief executive,
Institute of Hospitality

Ian Taylor
CEO,
SkillsActive

Ufi Ibrahim
Chief Executive,
British Hospitality Association

John Goodbody
Sports Journalist

Sam Coulstock
Customer Relationship Director,
Springboard

Lucy Schweingruber
Fundraising and Events Manager,
Ecsite

Louise Routh
Marketing and communications director,
Springboard UK

Philippe Rossiter
Chief Executive,
Institute of Hospitality

View all guest writers

To coupon or not to coupon

10 Feb 2012
by Eva McDiarmid, Chief Executive, ASVA
In one deal, a 5 star hotel was offering a day at their spa for a whopping 67 per cent discount - but the reality was specially created 'dumbed down' days

The growth of the phenomenon known in the US as 'e-couponing' appears to have no limits.

If your inbox is anything like mine, the number of intermediaries offering discounting 'deals' increases by the day, so you'd conclude that there must be money to be made.

The idea of coupons is not new. Unsurprisingly, the first coupons were offered by Coca Cola way back in 1887, when paper tickets or coupons featured in magazines or were handed out by sales reps to be redeemed for free drinks.

The company gave free syrup to stores with soda fountains and by 1895, they were able to state that Coca Cola was served in every state in the US. (Interestingly at that time, cocaine was still one of the ingredients and which wasn't removed until 1903, so hardly surprising that it retained a loyal following!)

The key difference in couponing now is that it is being used increasingly to promote services - restaurants, beauty treatments, activities, overnight stays and more... The timing is of course not purely coincidental and dovetails, in the current economic downturn, with the need to save money.

Advocates say that the one key advantage coupons offer is that their usage can be tracked so you can measure their success as a promotional tool. But as one who has used coupons my experience of how they are used is mixed. I am not always sure that the organisation offering the deal is leveraging the maximum benefit.

In one deal, a 5 star hotel was offering a day at their spa to include unlimited use of the facilities, soup and sandwich lunch and an hour's massage - all for whopping 67 per cent discount.

The reality was specially created 'dumbed down' days. On the day we were there, no one seemed to think this was in any way reflective of 5 stars, so the experience on the day fell far short of the expectation. And crucially the hotel made no attempt at trying to engage us in the future either by email or even by another more considered offer.

A restaurant which shortly after it opened barely two years ago was Trip Advisor's #1 in Glasgow, has now rather ignominiously dropped to somewhere in the 150s. It has gone down the discount coupon route and although the two things may not be linked, the adverse reviews are about the service (or lack of it) and the lack of attention to detail, and not about the food itself. Again there is a mis-match between the experience and the expectation.

'Back in the day' as the current phrase goes, if I needed to return any sale goods because they had developed a fault, I always asked the assistant if 'sale' goods were sub-standard. The answer of course was always 'no' (unless clearly stated). It was always easier to negotiate an exchange or refund after that! And so it is with services - a discount is an introduction to encourage new business. Compromise on the service and the purpose is lost.

In the US it is estimated that 25 per cent of all marketers are investing in SMS and digital coupons so the phenomenon is here for the foreseeable future. Like everything else in each element of the marketing mix, it is one component. Alone, it will not deliver a new audience but equally it cannot be the weak link and must always deliver the experience promised. Who said that life was easy?



Tags: hotels & hospitality  tourism  visitor attractions  sales & marketing 

Share this story
Connect with Leisure Opportunities
Follow us:
Magazine:
Download PDF
View Turning Pages
 
Sign up:
Instant Alerts
Ezine
Print edition

Comments (0) Be the first to comment!

You must be logged in to comment.   Login | Register


Not registered? Click here to register

Recent posts by Eva McDiarmid


View more posts by Eva McDiarmid

Connect with leisuremanagement.co.uk

       

Latest tweets from leisuremanagement.co.uk

Latest jobs from leisuremanagement.co.uk

Sports Assistant

Company: St Mary's School Ascot, Salary: £12,050 pa, Location: Ascot, United Kingdom

Head of Leisure

Company: South Norfolk Council, Salary: £46,312 - £49,254 per annum, Location: South Norfolk House, Long Stratton, United Kingdom

Learning Support Tutor

Company: YMCAfit, Salary: Circa £23,500.00, grade 5, Location: Central London , United Kingdom

Unique Mobile Personal Trainers required

Company: Paul Jennings Fitness, Salary: Competitive, Location: London and Home Counties, United Kingdom

Business Development Officer

Company: Northampton Leisure Trust, Salary: Up to £22,667, Location: Northampton, United Kingdom

Duty Supervisors

Company: Northampton Leisure Trust, Salary: £21,278 per annum, Location: Northampton, United Kingdom

Deputy Sports Centre Manager

Company: Malvern St James School, Salary: £20,000 per annum, pro rata, Location: Malvern, Worcestershire, United Kingdom

Casual Sports Coach / Instructor - Trampolining

Company: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Salary: Level 2 = £17 per hour. Level 3 = £25 per hour., Location: Teddington and/or Hampton, United Kingdom

Casual Leisure Assistants

Company: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Salary: Scale 1c, £8.80 per hour , Location: London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames, United Kingdom

Casual Duty Managers (Sport and Fitness Centres)

Company: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Salary: Scale 3, £9.40 per hour, Location: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, United Kingdom

Receptionist (Full Time)

Company: Hertfordshire Sports Village, Salary: £17,217 per annum + PRP, Location: Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

Health and Fitness Coach (Full Time)

Company: Hertfordshire Sports Village, Salary: £18,792 per annum + PRP , Location: Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

Bookings Administrator (Full Time)

Company: Hertfordshire Sports Village, Salary: £18,792 per annum + PRP , Location: Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

Conference Director

Company: Global Geoparks Network, Salary: -, Location: Torquay, United Kingdom

Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach

Company: G14, Salary: Upon application, Location: Chiswick, West London

Leisure Centre Manager

Company: De Montfort University, Salary: £32,277 - £35,256 per annum, Location: Leicester, United Kingdom

Centre Manager - Manchester Climbing Centre

Company: Climbing Centre Group Ltd, Salary: Competitive, Location: Manchester

Crew Member / Fitness Instructor

Company: énergie group, Salary: Competitive, Location: Long Eaton, United Kingdom

Assistant General Manager

Company: The Gym Group, Salary: £16,000 - £20,000 + optional 100% of PT earnings, Location: Barking, United Kingdom

Lifeguard (Recreation Assistant)

Company: GLL, Salary: Up to £16,962 per annum (40 hours a week pro rata , Location: Morden, United Kingdom

The Leisure Media Company, Portmill House, Portmill Lane, Hitchin, Herts SG5 1DJ.
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 Fax: +44 (0)1462 433909 |
About us | © Cybertrek Ltd