Is price truly king? Maybe! | Travel Research Online


Is price truly king? Maybe!

If we have not said it ourselves, we certainly have heard it said –“My clients want the lowest price possible.”  Do we facilitate their focus on price, because we may personally focus on price in our lives?  Do we just assume that our clients think price is the only consideration?  Ultimately, we need to counsel, educate, and move their focus away from price if appropriate–which it usually is.

A while back, I did an unscientific poll.  Would you pay $3.21 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline or $3.89 per gallon? What do you think the results were?

Not surprising, no one blindly chose to pay $3.89 per gallon.  However, almost 75% of the respondents refused to decide without additional information: what brands were involved?  Was there a difference between the stations?  Did the higher priced station include anything extra (read: value) with the fuel purchase?  In other words, if they deemed the difference valuable, they were willing to consider paying more.

How does this translate to travel?  If we offered a client a $595 cruise versus a $1,995 cruise, with no other information, some will pick the lower priced cruise solely on price.  But, I believe that they would be in the minority.  Most clients will want more information before deciding:  how long is the cruise? What room category?  What ports of call, embarkation port?  Is airfare required?  Which cruise line? Which ship?  Are there any added values? Added costs?

Price is only one consideration in a client’s decision making process, and often not the most important consideration despite what they may initially say.  It is our job to paint the picture and explain why a higher price might ultimately be better for them.

And there are times where price may never be a part of the equation.  For example, FedEx versus UPS versus the US Postal Service.  Several people have been shocked to hear that I won’t even consider FedEx for shipping needs.  Why?  In a word–convenience.  I have a private mailbox at a UPS store. I’m already there picking up my mail and UPS and the USPS is simply more convenient.  Even if FedEx were cheaper, the convenience of “one stop shopping” wins over price in this instance.  And for some clients, the convenience of non-stop flights, or flying a preferred, outweighs lower prices for connecting flights or using alternate airlines. For an interesting look at a similar situation, read about the relationship between Zappos and UPS.

Of course, at times, price is king—and we just need to work with that as well. The important part is to not let your clients focus solely on price immediately when so many other variables are present.

Do you actively steer your clients away from focusing solely on price?  What questions do you ask to determine if price needs to be the focus?  Do you focus them on price by asking about price/budget right away?  Or do you just assume that everyone wants the cheapest price possible? Let’s discuss!

Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel located in Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers.  Through their division Kick Butt Vacations she focuses on travel for 18 to 23 year olds.  Susan can be reached by email or by phone at (888) 221-1209.

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