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Travel flash sales

June 13, 2011

One of the advantages of living here and no longer working is that we are free to travel as and when we wish.  One of the disadvantages of our life here is that our travel budget is nowhere as large as it used to be.  When we switched from that high-stress corporate lifestyle to a laid-back and mellower existence here in Cyprus we also gave up about 90% of our income.

That said we do get away from time to time and have had some fantastic trips in the last few years including three transatlantic crossing on our old friend, Windstar’s Wind Surf.

Instead of deciding what we would like to do or see and where we might go we keep our eyes peeled for offers and opportunities that might suit.  Being able to travel at little notice or off-season or via an indirect route means that we may be able to take advantages of offers that others may not.

As part of that we are signed up to receive emails from many of the major airlines as well as a number of travel companies.  Including in that list of companies are a growing number of Flash Sale or Invitation Only travel groups. These have been growing in number and popularity in recent years and suit our circumstances well.  The advantage is a well-priced deal, below list price; the disadvantage is that the sales aren’t open for long, typically seven days or less.

For those who are able and willing to keep an eye open for deals, and decide and book quickly, there are bargains to be had.  Later this year we have a few days planned in Athens; last year we spent a week cruising out of Venice and along the Dalmation coast.  In both cases the final prices we paid were significantly below list or brochure price.  It’s worth noting that in the cruise industry virtually no one pays brochure price, in almost all cases they are  considered to be nothing more than a starting point for discounts.  In the case of our trip last year that discount ended up being about 75%, not a figure to be sneezed at.

So what’s in it for the travel providers?  One of Voyage Prive’s Marketing people answered that question recently saying:

Hotels come to private sales sites like Voyage Prive for the following reasons: 
(a) To sell distressed inventory – when occupancy rates are low, limited time sales on those sites will provide them with incremental revenue.
(b) To access a premium base of customers – private sales sites tend to claim a high-end, quality member base.
(c) For marketing purposes – in the case of higher-end properties, private sales sites are a powerful marketing tool and a suitable sales platform: with customized and classy hotel presentations, expert presentations and insights, their focus is more on quality than quantity (vs Expedia, for example)
Hope that helps ;)

When we first started AradippouTales we detailed some of our road-trip as we drove from our home in London down to Venice then on to Athens and finally to Cyprus.  Our last weekend in England was spent in a lovely hotel called Nutfield Priory and we blogged about it in one of our very early entries here.  The reference to Brad Pitt was serious; on a previous visit to the hotel we bumped into him while he was in staying at the hotel and, accidentally, fell into conversation with him in the hotel library.  He was polite and charming and perfectly happy to chat for a while.

The hotel is part of the Hand Picked hotel group and offers for other hotels in the group appear on SecretEscapes, a UK flash sale site, from time to time.  Whilst browsing through their current and upcoming offers we couldn’t help but notice that there’s a sale starting for Nutfield Priory later this week.  Until the sale is live there’s no way of knowing how good the offer might be but at present there’s a deal running for Norton House, a sister hotel based up in Edinburgh.  A quick comparison of the rates available on the flash sale versus the hotel’s own website suggest that there are discounts of between 20% – 30% to be had.  It’s reasonable to assume that the sale for Nutfield Priory will be comparable.   Anyone wanting to take a peek at the deal, or sign up for future offers at SecretEscapes, can do so here.

Now, back to trying to convince Ian that a couple of days at Evanson Ma’In Hot Springs in Jordan is a good idea right now.  Jetsetter have a great deal on; what do you think my chances are?

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