Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Gaining visibility on discounts

Gaining visibility on discounts

By Tom Stieghorst
*InsightOne of the things that can frustrate travel agents and travelers alike is knowing that discounts have been applied to the cruise price, but not knowing exactly how or which discounts were applied.

It’s great to pay less than the next guy. But accounting for discounts can be just as important.

Royal Caribbean is taking a step in that direction with the enhancements it has made to its reservations process.*TomStieghorst 

With the “Pricing and Promotions” upgrades, agents and travelers will be able to easily see where promotions are applied.  The upgrades also improve the ability to combine various promotions and track which offers are combinable in what amounts. 

Royal said the promotions will be visible during shopping, applied when the booking is confirmed and, perhaps most importantly, displayed on the booking invoice.

It has the opportunity to give shoppers more confidence in what they’re getting and
give them visibility into the value of the deal.

“In the past people would just call us and say ‘I’m over 55, what’s your rate for seniors?’” noted Diana Block, vice president of revenue management for Royal Caribbean International. "We might say, 'it’s $1,099.' They couldn’t see the value; that in the general marketplace it was $1,299 and that we were giving them a $200 discount.”

Now, she said, “the customer can really see the benefit of the discount that they’re getting.”
Royal said several years ago it would spend $100 million on improving  its reservations technology. With “Pricing and Promotions” we’re starting to see where the dollars have been spent, and that there appears to be a tangible payoff for agents in Royal’s IT investments.