Customer Retention, Increase Profits, Increase Revenue, Marketing, Selling

Discount coupons – Good or Bad for Business?

Discount Deals - a good idea?

As I’m sure you know, a popular marketing strategy at the moment is the use of Discount Coupons, those cut price deals where you buy a voucher that gives you a big discount on the usual ticket price.

They’re available in several different guises and they present offers on all sorts of stuff, from your favourite Restaurant or Beauty Salon to a Service on your Car, to a day being shot at with Balls of Paint. You know the one’s I mean..

I have read recently how the use of these actually discourages any sort of Customer Loyalty, and I guess that can be true as the people that use them could be said to be totally price focussed. But is that really the case?

I’ve also come across business owners that use them, complaining that although they do the job of attracting people to them, it’s not great, as because of the deal, they’re giving most of their profit away, (more on this later).

This leads me to a recent experience of my own.
My wife, (always on the look out for a bargain :-) ), decided to find somewhere nice to go for a weekend to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  She duly spotted a “Coupon” deal at a what looked like a really nice country-house hotel, up in the North East of England, in a great spot not far from the fantastic coastline up there. We checked out the web-site, it looked great (the hotel, not just the web-site), and we were all set for our “romantic” weekend in fine surroundings.

So off we go, braving the Friday afternoon “poets-day” traffic, (that’s a northern english joke I think), discovering that the place was fashionably difficult to find, (a good sign surely, we thought). Eventually via the gift of Sat Nav, we found it. Beautiful grounds, fabulous looking buildings, nice decor etc, they even had Red Squirrels in the gardens, what could be finer?

Our experience changed though as soon as we checked in. “Oh, you’re on the “xxxxx” deal”, the lady at the check-in desk announced in what seemed like a loud voice. “Here’s a list of the limited things you can choose from in the bar/restaurant. Oh and if you want to use our nicer restaurant, you’ll have to upgrade.”

Well we immeadiately felt like second-class citizens. Here we were in these fine surroundings being firmly told that, oh yes you can stay but you can’t have the full experience I’m afraid, (these are my words of course, it wasn’t that bad!)

So that was it. It didnt spoil our weekend, in fact we sat in the bar and had a good laugh about it, But we both agreed, that it was a missed opportunity for the hotel. A missed opportunity to really wow us with all they had to offer, so that we’d go away and tell all of our friends about what a fantastic place it was, about the great time that we’d had, and actually encourage us to want to come back, bringing our friends with us!.

Instead they were too focussed on not giving too much away. Shame.

So the moral is to remember what the purpose of coupon deals is. They are to attract people to you, to give them the opportunity of buying your products or services and have such a great experience that they’ll not only come back for more and happily pay the full price, they’ll tell their friends about you too.

You may have seen elsewhere on this blog, my ramblings about Lifetime Value. If you haven’t, check it out. This is a prime example of when you need to remember that. So don’t just use coupon deals to fill up your hotel/restaurant/beauty parlour etc. Look upon them as an opportunity to invite a new customer in, and to give them such a great experience that they come back for more and become a Raving Fan.

Anyway, rant over. Hope you found it useful…. :-)


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