Travel Membership: History repeats itself thanks to parity rates
Think you're receiving a great deal, the biggest discount or the best price? Think again.
The Travel Market is going through some major changes which seem to be going unnoticed by the masses and it's about time the consumer was informed as to what exactly is going on. Membership clubs might seem like a thing of the past which is true, they were hugely popular in the 1970's, but they are also the future and lets us explain quickly as to why these membership clubs are now taking giant strides in the Travel market.
Unfortunately when most people search online for a product or service such as a hotel room, they are usually jumping from one website to another without realising they are in fact, all the same. It hasn't always been this way as this is a relatively new trend which has saturated the online travel industry in recent years. Why? Rate parity laws.
Rate Parity is maintaining consistent rates for the same product in all online distribution channels.
The most obvious example of rate parity can be seen today with online travel companies such as, Expedia inc, who have full ownership and control of several other recognizable brands such as Orbitz, Hotels.com or Travelocity. The continued growth of such companies might seem like a good opportunity for a consumer to find even better deals online but quite the opposite is taking place.
Due to Rate parity laws, these websites are no longer in a position to advertise the discounts we have seen in the past. For example, if an online company was to advertise a product or service for a lesser price than the supplier, it would effectively result in the company being blacklisted or outcast from the industry. This is the reason why today, when you perform an online search for flights, hotels etc the price is usually the same on each website.
It many ways this is not such a bad thing for any of these brands, as it means they can advertise the full cost of a product or service while still knowing that their price will not be beaten elsewhere.
However, when you consider how today's consumer utilises online services in order to find the best bargains for their next weekend break or trip abroad, this appears to be major news for anyone interested in travel. Unfortunately, being it is not in their interests, this is also information which the travel companies would like to keep from you, the consumer.
Simply put, the great deals we are so used to finding on booking engines or websites, are now a thing of the past. Instead you will find meagre offers which will accompany your purchase such as “free cancellation” or “10% off airport transfer” which are quite honestly, a paltry bonus compared to the discounts these websites once offered.
This might seem like the end of online discounts for travel or indeed any activity like shopping or eating out but actually, there is one exception to the laws of Rate Parity and this exception refers to “closed loop programs”.
Closed loop programs are essentially Membership clubs who negotiate hugely discounted prices directly with the Supplier. They are not subjected to the same laws as the brands mentioned at the beginning of this article and so this means, they are in a very unique position to offer heavily discounted prices to customers without breaking any laws relating to rate parity.
Sound too good to be true? It is too good, but it is also true.
Membership clubs in any respect provide value to some extent but when it comes to travel in particular, it would appear that a Membership club is now the last and only way to find genuine discounts for flights, hotels, cruises etc.
With the freedom to provide prices which are unlikely to be beaten anywhere, Membership clubs are also now in a position to provide a value which far exceeds any deal which can be found through the usual online search.
As with anything in life, be it investments, the price of property or fashion trends, everything runs in cycles and it would appear the travel Membership clubs which were once so popular in the 1970's are now back on top.
Hotels etc. is the prime example of a Membership club who passes on these big discounts and opportunities to their clients. They are transparent when it comes to getting you the best deal and with a 20 year history, 4 million members and a rating which far exceeds even the most trustworthy of banks, Hotels etc is a leading light for travellers who want to take the trip of a lifetime without having to cover the large price tag found online.
The CEO of this vibrant company, Shawn Pigg, was quoted on the radio recently advising listeners, he would call them personally if they were unhappy with the service provided. Words which are surely encouraging to even the most pessimistic of online consumers.
You might be asking yourself, what's the catch? There is none. Like all membership clubs you contribute a minimal fee, which is quite honestly a drop in the ocean compared to the discount offers you receive, and then begin planning your next vacation, day or night out, knowing Hotels etc has got you covered with the discounts you need to afford it.
Travel membership clubs are not just promising great deals in the future, they are offering them right now. So if you want the greatest deals, the biggest discounts or the best prices, forget jumping around one website after another and get signed up to a club which offers you true value in order to make your next big trip happen.
On the other hand, if you are still unsure, think about it: 20 years in business with “A+” ratings should prove otherwise..