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Got BOGO?

By now I am sure everyone has seen the catchy commercials for Payless Shoe stores. BOGO is “buy one get one half off” at Payless. Previous to the Payless campaign, BOGO was an acronym that was universally known in the marketing industry but rarely presented to customers in this form. Originally, “buy one get one free” was a sudden end-of-season or stock clearance method used by shops who were left with a large quantity of stock that they were looking to sell quickly.

“Buy One, Get One free”, or “Buy one, get one” is a common form of a sales promotion, even now in the travel industry. The two-for-one travel promotions have become quite popular, particularly lately due to the economy. Some cruise lines have marketed sailings such as the “2 for 1 Escape the Economy Sale”.

The good news about these types of sales is that they become great marketing opportunities that can generate inquiries and new sales. These promotions are meant to get the consumer’s attention. The ad campaign has been successful for Payless by drawing people to get in on the deals, especially new customers. Just what every marketing company wants.

But what do you do after the BOGO offer draws them in? Whether it’s buying a pair of shoes or going on a first cruise, the marketing campaign isn’t fully successful unless the customers become repeat clients.

I recently had a personal experience where I was delighted to score my own “BOGO” deal! My friend and I celebrate a mutual birthday and each year and rather than exchange gifts we treat ourselves to an evening out at a nice restaurant. This year was my turn to pick the restaurant. I happened to choose Morton’s Steak House simply because I received an email promotion that offered 2 three-course steak dinners for the price of one.

We were greeted by “Welcome to Morton’s Anita and Patricia! We are honored that you choose to dine with us on your birthdays. I hope you didn’t have any problem finding parking. I tried to call you to warn of possible traffic snarls since there was a parade downtown earlier in the day.”

We were then escorted to our table by a maitre d’ and immediately introduced to our server. From the moment we walked in I felt like we were treated like royalty but I thought “what’s going to happen when they find out we are “coupon ladies”? A bit embarrassed, and not wanting to surprise the waiter, I thought I better let him know early on that we would be using “THE BOGO”. He said “That’s great! When I return with your drinks I will tell you about your choices.” Along with our drinks he brought us personalized printed menus that included the message “Happy Birthday Anita and Patricia!” As our drinks appeared, so did another staff member with a camera. “May we capture the evening for you?” And as a perfect ending for our birthday dinner, we were presented with a complimentary dessert and the photos signed by all the wait staff.

This was my first time dining at Morton’s and from the time we arrived till the time we departed, the service, the employees, the food, and the overall dining experience well exceeded our expectations. To top it off, the next day I received a follow up call from the manager thanking us for our visit and wanting to make sure our dining experience met our expectations.

They made us feel like a very special customer, as if I was a regular patron. My friend was so impressed that she asked if I brought all my friends and clients there because of all the attention we were shown. Morton’s is fortunate have such fun, energetic and passionate employees who really do care about their customers. What I especially liked about the service was that it wasn’t a ‘forced’ friendly, it felt truly genuine.

This isn’t meant to be a commercial about Morton’s but more an example of how we can all learn by taking a look a successful company’s “Mission and Core Values”.

Mission – Our mission is to always exceed our guests’ expectations.

Core values – Based upon the idea that only the best will do for every guest.
• We value each other.
• We will offer only the finest products.
• We strive to consistently improve every day, in everything we do.
• We expect to be profitable.

Based on these values, I have come up with a new acronym for “BOGO” that we can all use:
Best Products for Valued Clients
Outstanding Service
Genuine Caring & Hospitality
Operate Profitably


AnitaAnita Pagliasso is the author of “How I Made A Small Fortune as a Home-Based Travel Agent” “From Home-Based to POWERHOUSE” and “Anita’s Toolbox for Home-Based Agents CD” (www.redticketproductions.com), President, Host Agency Ticket To Travel (www.travelagentathome.com), Travel Agent Forum Conference Director, and PATH President & Executive Board Member

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