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As a primer for our timely and very relevant November 22, program “Flash Sales: A Curse or a Blessing,” here is a case study on how the misuse of Flash sales can cause mayhem. This is excerpted from a Max Starkov article on HotelsMag.com

A Case Study from the Hospitality Industry:

There is a very good case study from New York City where a luxury boutique hotel was (mis) using Twitter to offer last-minute discounts for unsold rooms for the night:

  • Every day at 5PM the hotel would send out a Twitter-only Last-Minute Special that was 25%-30% below BAR (discount varied based on number of empty rooms available for the night).
  • All 8,000-10,000 Twitter followers received this last minute special.
  • Potential guests, new and old, frequent and occasional, were waiting for these last-minute specials to book via their mobile phones or call from the airport or from the taxi cab while en route to the hotel (5PM traffic to Manhattan – you get the picture).
  • There have been numerous cases when people were waiting in the lobby of the hotel to receive the 5PM last-minute deal and then walked up to the reception desk and booked their stay right then!
  • There have been many cases where guests arriving with advance reservations booked at much higher rates via the hotel website, voice, GDS or an OTA, demanded at the front desk to be accommodated at the lower “last-minute rate of the day.” The front desk had to oblige reluctantly.
  • Major ruckus and noisy scandals at the front desk were a common occurrence on a daily basis.

In 6 months or so the hotel discontinued the practice and spent at least a year after that repairing the damage to its price integrity.

On November 22, you’ll get to hear representatives from discount sites, coupon offers, and industry experts on how to use Flash sales and discounts coupons effectively and avoid this type of disaster. Register here