Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, consumers swarm the streets and break the internet in search of a good bargain. It is now expected of retailers to reduce prices, sometimes by as much as 75%, on what has become the busiest shopping day of the year – Black Friday.
But for travel brands, offering discounted rates for hotel and airfare can be daunting. On one hand, good discounts are bound to increase sales but on the other, lowing prices can reduce the amount of profit there is to be made.
This leaves us wondering: is offering huge discounts on travel deals and packages during the Black Friday shopping hype really worth it for travel agents?
First, let’s look at the numbers
Total spends in the US on Black Friday have seen a 2.5% increase, on average, every year since 2008.
Since 1952, the end-of-year shopping craze has swept from the US to numerous countries from different parts of the world, including the UK, Canada, Mexico, Romania and India, to name a few.
The BBC confirmed that the UK spent £1.4 billion on Black Friday in 2017, up from £1.23 billion in 2016 and £1.1 billion the year before that. Not only is UK spends increasing year on year, but it’s also becoming undeniably popular in other parts of the world.
Why is Black Friday so popular?
Black Friday marks the beginning of the festive season for many shoppers. Falling just one day after Thanksgiving and one month before Christmas, consumers recognise the hype as a stark reminder that Christmas is just around the corner.
This creates a cycle of buyers – as more people are seen ticking boxes off their shopping list, more want to join the crowd and finish their shopping while the big sales are on.
During a typically expensive time for travel bookings, Black Friday is the perfect time to snatch up a one-off bargain and surprise a loved one over the festive period.
Benefits of taking part in Black Friday sales
Reducing the price of a holiday will not only help to sell the package, but will also attract more and more consumers to choose and book with your travel agency.
Booking a trip is great, but the excitement of getting a good bargain is even better, and satisfied customers always gloat to their family and friends. Word of mouth is one of the most trusted and powerful marketing techniques!
Black Friday is also a great chance for travel brands to put less desirable destinations back on the map. Due to an increase in terrorist attacks, countries like Turkey and Tunisia have seen a decline in tourism over recent years. However, many coastal areas remain safe for travel. Black Friday is the perfect time to boost tourism in the beautiful countries where economies have been affected by such attacks.
Not to mention, customers that come across your Black Friday deals will know where to look the following year.
Setbacks of taking part in Black Friday sales
Increase website traffic. Engage and attract customers. Generate more revenue. Hit sales targets. The benefits of offering discounted rates scream loud and clear, but the setbacks are often overlooked.
Brands must analyse each travel package during the discounting process and decide which deals are feasible and which are not.
When is your brand least busy for bookings? Should you offer discounts during these dates? When will the offers go public? Some brands put them on display a few days in advance, while others only advertise them on the day.
Discounting is an intelligent process that requires a lot of thought to ensure the day runs smoothly and to avoid a potential disaster from occurring.
Moreover, brands must be prepared for an influx of travel shoppers. Do you have enough staff on hand to deal with additional customers?
Who’s already doing it?
Some of the biggest brands in the industry take part in the Black Friday bonanza.
While the bargains have not yet been announced, Thomas Cook are offering discounted rates on a range of getaways for last-minute bookers, families and couples.
SkyScanner also announced that there will be deals up for grabs on November 24th and asked its customers to bookmark this page to “bag the cheapest bargains from their favourite airlines and online travel agencies.”
Qatar Airways, Expedia and British Airways are amongst many other travel brands who are known to offer fantastic Black Friday deals, so keep your eyes peeled!
Should I join in?
The figures prove that Black Friday is becoming increasingly popular in all parts of the world, so travel brands should consider taking part in the busy shopping hype.
However, make sure your campaign is well thought out and well prepared to avoid disappointment.