/ Travel & Leisure

Found a ‘limited time only’ offer? What’s the hurry!

Travel ads online and in newspapers bombard us with promises of big savings if we act fast. But does it really pay to buy in a hurry? We investigated whether acting fast always guarantees the best deal.

I hate being hurried. So I react badly when I see an advert screaming at me to hurry up and ‘book now’.

I instinctively distrust such adverts because I never really believe there’s any need to hurry.

There are a lot of options when it comes to travel, and I think if I miss out on one particular deal, something very similar will still be around.

So I’d never buy a holiday just because a travel company told me it wouldn’t be around for long. I’d rather take the risk of missing out on one particular deal and take my time to do the research, making sure I get the right deal for me.

When an offer’s not an offer

I wondered – is there any real risk of losing out on time-sensitive deals? We had a look at ‘hurry deals’ advertised in newspapers over four weeks in April and May, as well as similar deals emailed to members of the Which? Travel team.

All the offers advertised a cut-off date after which the deal would no longer be available. And of the 30 ads we looked into, we found 13 where we could still find some of the deals on offer at the same price or cheaper after the offer period had finished.

If I’d rushed to snap up a ‘limited time only’ deal and then saw it cheaper after the time period had finished, I’d be furious. Why do companies risk annoying customers by doing this? It seems to be all about stimulating demand and getting cash into the business as quickly as possible.

There’s no rush for good deals

Companies have to adjust prices to reflect demand, but these ads run the risk of misleading consumers. I don’t think travel companies should kid us into thinking that prices on offer won’t be around for long, when there’s every chance that they actually will be.

Do you think these ads are misleading? Have you ever seen your holiday advertised for less money after you bought it in an offer?

Daz says:
28 June 2012

Absolutely agree! They will try every ‘trick’ in the book to get customers money! I do not blame them entirely, as I do appreciate that they are just that – a business, only after your money. So we as consumers also have a responsibility to look after our ‘hard earned cash’. However I do believe the system is getting worse, they are becoming more elaborate & making claims that you wonder if they really can deliver.

Anyone who has been on a professional sales course will know this technique as the “ulitimatum close”. The idea is to reduce thinking time and close the sale quickly. In reality if the seller really wants your business they’ll sell even after the deadline, so don’t be rushed into a decision.
Another common approach (and there are many) is to offer 20%, 30% even 50% off.
But 50% off what?
The suggestion is that this item was selling at some notional higher price, but of course it wasn’t, or it was overpriced, otherwise they would not be offering it at this lower “discount” price.
Forget 50% or whatever off just look at the final price. If it looks like a good deal and you need one buy it, but don’t be rushed, don’t be mislead and do a little comparative research.
Spot the sales technique, disregard the sales technique, and just look at the bottom line, shop around and you’ll save a small fortune.

My best holidays have been bought last minute at last minute prices. We would never have been able to plan ages in advance for us both to be free at the same time (and I don’t suggest this is good).
However we also didn’t have time to build up false hopes of how wonderful the holiday would be. We had the time off and we enjoyed it.

I booked a holiday yesterday on the Isle of Wight for 3 persons. A 4 day midweek break. I mentioned that £400 plus per person was a bit too steep for me, a single supplement would have to be paid for as the rooms did not cater for three persons OK it was in an hotel I was offered the same holiday at another venue but chalet style, where my father-in-Law (90y’rs young) had his own chalet. Cost? Just over £230 pp. The chalet style holiday offered the same amenities, food & entertainment. Having stayed with this company in the past on several occasions at different venues, I know what the standards are like. Downgrading? I don’t think so, if anything I prefer the chalet to a hotel especially when saving a few £100’s .