If you do it right, you can use daily deals to fill seats in the off-season or low season and improve your brand awareness with locals and build word of mouth advertising for your business. Rezgo has a lot of features that can be used to make sure you protect yourself against the common pitfalls of daily deal marketing.
The first and most important thing to remember is that the daily deal sites need you more than you need them. Don't settle for the standard rates. Make sure you negotiate a better split for your business and put an upper limit on the number of vouchers you sell and the expiry of the deal. You don't want to end up selling out your entire season's worth of available seats at 75% off! Needless to say, if you did that, you probably wouldn't have a next season and we don't want that either.
Once you've decided to move ahead with a daily deal, follow these steps in Rezgo to make sure you simplify the experience both for you and for your customers.
Set-up for Success
1. Create a separate tour for the daily deal. The tour should be different from your regular tour and should not be visible on your regular tour list. You can do this by making your tour PRIVATE. This way, it can only be reached through the link provided on the daily deal site after the voucher is purchased in the redemption instructions.
2. If you can, add an add-on to the tour that adds a value to the tour but has little cost to you. Perhaps combine it with a restaurant or an attraction who is willing to provide a free lunch or free entry (where the cost to you is $0). This increases the value of the tour and so, when you discount it by 50%, the discounted price is higher. Remember, you are not artificially inflating your tour price (as some merchants have been caught doing), you are in fact offering more and therefore are justified in pricing it higher. Set the price for the tour option that you create for this tour to the discounted value. This way, your reports will show the discounted price as the amount paid for the tour. When you reconcile your vouchers with the daily deal site, you'll be able to apply the commission paid to the daily deal site as a marketing expense against the revenue made for the tours. Setting up your tour this way will also make it easier to see whether or not the group deal has any impact on the bookings for your regular products.
Any opportunity to increase the value of your tour without increasing your cost means more money in your pocket at the end of the day. This is also why it must be different from your regular tour because you do not want to devalue your existing offerings.
3. Specify as part of your terms that the deal is for online bookings of tours only and subject to availability. This way, you avoid getting swamped with phone calls which can take valuable time out of your day. Make sure to set up some availability rules that restrict the days that the daily deal tour can be booked. You generally want to use the daily deals to push slow or low season days or periods. You can do this by using the Rules manager in Rezgo. This is an important point because the daily deal site will try to get you to offer your regular tour. Don't do it! How will your full customers feel sitting next to someone who just paid 50% less.
3. Add a custom form field to the option for this tour that is "Daily Deal Voucher #" with the following example instructions.
"Please enter your daily deal voucher id in the space provided. Once we confirm the validity of your voucher we will confirm your booking. Select "Daily Deal Voucher" as your payment method during booking. Your original voucher must be presented at the time you take the tour or your tour will be cancelled."
4. Add a manual payment method called "Prepaid voucher" or "Daily Deal Voucher". The customers will select this payment method when they complete the booking instead of the usual Paypal or Credit Card payment method.
What you want to remember is that the voucher that the customer has purchased from the daily deal site is a form of payment for your services, not actual payment for your services. When the booking is made, they use the voucher which they bought from the daily deal site to pay for the tour. In the same way a gift certificate might be used to pay for a tour.
When the booking comes in, you should check the voucher code that is entered by the customer with your list provided by the daily deal company. If it is valid, then change the status of the bookign to "Confirmed" and Rezgo will send out a confirmation email. The customer will receive their voucher and receipt via email. If the voucher is invalid, you can either cancel the booking or ask the customer for a valid voucher number. Remember to collect the vouchers on site when they arrive for back-up.
Once your deal is all done, go into the booking report and make sure to run a report for the time period during which time the deals were redeemed. Because you set up the tour as a separate tour and option, you'll be able to sort your data by tour name and option in order to see how many bookings you received and your revenues (not including commission to the daily deal site). You can then cross reference your numbers in the system with the records from the daily deal site to determine how well (or not) the promotion worked for you.
Having a software system that accepts daily deals doesn't help you make money, understanding how to use the system to structure and execute a profitable deal does make you money. Daily deal promotions are expensive and can be time consuming. Following some simple planning steps and setting up your availability and rules the right way can go a long way to making your daily deal experience a positive one.