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Discount coupons and online promotions incite spending

Price is a family's main preoccupation, especially for vacations


More than 6 French travelers out of 10 have used a discount coupon in the last 12 month according to the 2e couponing barometer (see box) done on ma-reduc.com. Not a surprising result since “price” is one of the main preoccupations of families, especially for vacations. The market of online promotion codes, little known in France, is growing rapidly within e-commerce and m-commerce. In the hotel sector for example, it can be a possible alternative regain control of reservations.



The French run after “good deals” online.

Within the context of the economic crisis, coupons and online promotions are a true invitation for spending, online or even in web-to-store (digital coupons that can be downloaded on a mobile device.)

A study made by the Forrester office indicated that the trends of the digital couponing market seen overseas will soon reach France, since they both follow similar growth rates.

According to an Audirep study, more than 1 out of 2 (51%) French travelers opting for accommodation in a hotel or club has benefited from a discount in 2013.

While the proportion decreases strongly based on the type of accommodation (41% for campings, 36% for guest houses or cabins and 28% for rentals), the discount applies to one fourth and one half of vacationers leaving for at least one week in a rental accommodation during a “peak” period.

What are the advantages of digital couponing?

This market is developing because for tourism professionals it provides many advantages as explained Grégoire Frémiot, Sales and Partner Relations Director of RetailMeNot France, a network of websites specialized in online discounts.

First, in terms of online trafic and visibility.

The network includes brands such as mareduc.com and bons-de-reduction.com in France.

Worldwide, it accounts for 625 million visits per year. 21.1 million applications were downloaded. In 2013, RetailMeNot facilitated sales for venders amounting up to 3.5 billion dollars.

“We bring them trafic but also a promise: that of reducing the shopping quitting rate when the tourism sector has the lowest rates of visit transformation/sale in e-commerce, of less than 1%.

The promotion code helps the purchase, and gives the consumer the feeling of making a deal.”


The idea is to provide a financial advantage to the person looking for it. “It’s another way of doing management yield by giving a different net price based on the Internet user’s behavior.”

Second, this procedure allows to increase the amount of the average sale.

“Just like in mass distribution, generosity is necessary to orient the purchase and push the client to spend more.

For this, product relevance is paramount.

Clients often spend more when they benefit from a discount,” adds the Sales and Partner Relations Director of RetailMeNot.

Another advantage, the interest of the economic model.

We work based on performance, price per acquisition. The commission is taken when the reservation is made. This allows to control costs and see the return on investment (ROI).”

And finally, the digital coupon doesn’t draw the client away from the actual sales outlet. Just the opposite, it enters a web-to-store strategy: 50% of consumers say they are more prone to visit a retail outlet after receiving a digital coupon, according to the study led by the American study office, Forrester.

RetailMeNot offers GPS localization tools - geofencing and iBeacon - allowing to target particular offers.

The seller will only pay based on an actual in-store visit. For RetailMeNot, it's especially the feeling given to the internet user that he’s making a great deal.

The innovations on this market are multiplying in the US and are progressively coming to France.

Regaining control of distribution

Are discount coupons a new weapon to fight in the price war between OTA and large tourism groups?

This is what Luca Gerini believes, E-commerce Director at Louvre Hotel. He’s been working for over a year with RetailMeNot, like many tourism players, and sees the benefits.

“For years, OTAs constructed a mentality amongst Internet users by making them believe that the cheapest prices could only be found on their websites.

As a chain, we don’t have the same means as Booking to change this mentality.

So we need to partner with large websites like RetailMeNot.

It is an evangelizing strategy to show clients that the cheapest price is with me, on my website”
, explains the e-commerce director.

For Louvre Hôtels, couponing generates 25% of the sales thanks to their membership program (couponing is included in the budget.)

“Amongst thousands of members, this is the 2nd most important one” he claims.

And while the promotion code may have a negative impact on the profit incurred, the hotelier prefers to see it as “client acquisition cost” and “a way of educating the client” to come reserve on his website.

In fact, the internet user is going to seek out promotional codes on the various websites on RetailMeNot and enters them into the hotel’s website.

A gain for direct sale and the hotel’s CRM.

Written by Mathilde Khlat translated by Joséphine Foucher the 19/11/2014
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