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I have received a flyer from Herbert Woods this morning. They are offering a choice from 14 boats at 40% discount off of the Hire Charge  throughout the month of March. 

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That will be because Easter is very late this year!

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I notice that they are also selling mooring plots in their marina....

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They consistently have offers like this (admittedly not always as high as 40% discount) but it doesn't do them any favours in my view. If I'd already booked for March at full price and then saw this I'd be livid. It also begs the question, if they can afford to knock so much off, why don't they just set the prices lower in the first place and save themselves the hassle? 

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If you look at the boats it's mostly their older ones they seem to be offering. 

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1 hour ago, Broads01 said:

It also begs the question, if they can afford to knock so much off, why don't they just set the prices lower in the first place and save themselves the hassle? 

I'm not sure it's a case of being able to afford to do it? More like they need the cashflow at this time of year.

I think the sale of mooring plots is related, why else would you sell off something you could make much more money from in the long run?

Personally I won't use any yard that has this pricing policy, because I just assume they're ripping me off with whatever price they're charging for specific dates.

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Have they recently brought out somebody because I was told there will be more moorings coming up for sale "When they are ready", whatever they meant by that.

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I agree with Simon and Gregg and have always been against discounting, otherwise the price published in the brochure becomes meaningless. 

I can also understand though, that the date of Easter makes a big difference. This is a very seasonal business, so a late Easter means you have another month to do planned boat maintenance. Trouble is, the bookings you lose because of a late Easter will never be "caught up" later in the year. they are just lost, and the season gets off to a bad start.

So I can understand that this offer might bring in a bit of cash flow when it is most needed, but it is not a good overall marketing strategy, in my view.

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48 minutes ago, oldgregg said:

I won't use any yard that has this pricing policy, because I just assume they're ripping me off with whatever price they're charging for specific dates.

I think it was Robin Godber who said discounting is death. 

Having said that I get a hefty winter discount of 20% from HW in February plus loyalty discount plus early booking discount plus early payment discount = more beer money! :default_beerchug:

Forgot to add - this is clearly advertised in their brochure so maybe not quite the same as 'pop up' discounts. 

 

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It seems quite simple to me.

Finance dept says "Let's set the prices for next year.......When are the school holidays and bank holidays so we can charge extra for those weeks?      Oh look , Easter is late next year so we may not be very busy before then.  Let's make those early weeks more tempting by making the prices as low as we can making sure we still make money. This means that we will have to add a bit more on to the 'always popular weeks.    Sorted !!!!!

We will hopefully get plenty of early bookings and will not have to try selling discounted weeks.

Jeff

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That’s why I like Ferry Marina’s pricing policy. They look more expensive at first glance, but when you start to compare prices of comparable boats they start to look like a good deal, and the lack of ‘special deals’ means that as a long term customer you don’t feel you are being ‘had’.

I’m so fed up with the railways. Yes, you can get cheap tickets, but it’s not really a fair pricing policy for those who can’t plan ahead. 

On my first summer job (way back in 1978) I worked for the pre-privatised British Railways, well to be accurate, Sealink, which was then the BR owned operator of the Holyhead to Ireland Ferry service. I thought the BR ticketing system then was fairer than the current regime. Singles, day returns, monthly returns or open returns. Apart from that choice, everyone paid the same for the same journey. Nowadays it’s just a lottery, and (in my opinion) completely unfair.

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my dad worked for BR and sealink, ending up as ports manager.

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10 hours ago, jeffbroadslover said:

It seems quite simple to me.

Finance dept says "Let's set the prices for next year.......When are the school holidays and bank holidays so we can charge extra for those weeks?      Oh look , Easter is late next year so we may not be very busy before then.  Let's make those early weeks more tempting by making the prices as low as we can making sure we still make money. This means that we will have to add a bit more on to the 'always popular weeks.    Sorted !!!!!

We will hopefully get plenty of early bookings and will not have to try selling discounted weeks.

A bit of a cynical view, if may say so.

Unless you are in the business it is always hard to explain how difficult (often impossible) it is to make money out of a seasonal business which only takes money for half the year and yet needs the same number of full-time staff in the winter as well as the summer. Hardly the same thing as a ski resort!

I can assure you that, ever since the 50s, we have been trying to "flatten out" the peak weeks in July and August to make a more even price over the season but I am afraid the fact always remains, that more people come boating during the school holidays. If we want to make enough average income over the season to survive the winter months, then we have to put a premium on those peak weeks.

At least we have managed to get rid of a lot of the "extras" to make much more of a "one price" holiday. For instance, you don't have to hire a television any more and car parking is usually free of charge. On the French canals you can choose an all inclusive package which includes fuel.

Simon's point about being upset to see a discount, when you have booked in advance, is most valid. Traditionally the business has relied heavily on regular customers and still does now. I still have all of Hearts Cruisers' booking charts from the 50's and they show that the next season would be up to 60% booked by the end of September the previous year, by the regulars booking their next year's holiday when they came back at the end of their week.

Nowadays I think it is perhaps the internet which has made the difference, as bookings can be made last minute "on a whim" and it is also so much easier to publicise a last minute discount.

I still don't like it though! Bad policy overall.

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I too find the late discounting is a poor business model to employ , it’s guaranteed to annoy existing “full price” customers .

I wonder why is it that seemingly every business tends to offer far better prices when booked in advance , it works for hotels , flights , holidays , train companies , yet companies such as HW feel the opposite is the way to go .

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20 minutes ago, CambridgeCabby said:

to offer far better prices when booked in advance , it works for hotels , flights , holidays , train companies , yet companies such as HW feel the opposite is the way to go .

Fair comment although Herbert Woods do offer early booking and early payment discounts which is a permanent feature of their pricing policy. 

Regarding Vaughan's comments, a yard must cover it's costs or it will go bust eventually. I guess they must try to balance pricing against customer expectations and demand. It must be a tricky thing to achieve with a bit of crystal ball thrown in for good measure! 

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To be fair to Herbert Woods, the discounts are just for starts in the month of March. Offer Details Could it just be that the 14 boats offered have now completed their annual service and are now back in the water, perhaps ahead of schedule and therefore suitable to discount?

Insurers and energy companies will often charge you extra for being loyal to them. Most people will have experienced that you can buy the same policy/power cheaper as a new customer if you compare prices. 

Yield management is employed across the travel industry now. Flight prices will generally be cheapest around launch dates but can "bobble around" right up to departure due to sophisticated computer algorithms which compare yield to expected levels and adjust the prices accordingly. You can still end up sitting next to someone who booked later than you but is paying less than you did. The aim is to achieve a specified load factor. Holiday companies have for a long time, loaded the peak month prices to subsidise the off-peak dates. The price you pay for a week in early May (away from bank holidays) is not a true reflection of the cost to the operator who will use premium date revenues to keep the off-peak dates "operational". This way they can keep staff on season long and iron out the expenses over the year to some extent. 

Rail fares changed because the operators were finding that their trains were full mornings and evenings but not so at other times. SO they needed to come up with a system where they offered off peak fares to people who would not be taking up seats already paid for in full by commuters and business people. That's where the advance part came in, so they could allocate a particular service to you, which was perhaps not selling well. Again it is the computerisation of the yield management which has enabled this. On top of this, there will always be a number of no shows/cancellations which are not refundable and can be resold, again built into the yield managament. 

I think we are likely to see more of this behaviour over time. It's a "wild west" out there but the benefit is that there are lower prices out there if you can seek them out.

 

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After reading the above posts I sent an email to Herbert Woods requesting some further information.

The email was timed 12.38. I received a reply timed 12.38.

That's what I call customer service.

Roy

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4 hours ago, DAVIDH said:

To be fair to Herbert Woods, the discounts are just for starts in the month of March. Offer Details Could it just be that the 14 boats offered have now completed their annual service and are now back in the water, perhaps ahead of schedule and therefore suitable to discount?

I was thinking along similar lines. Herbert Woods have a vast number of boats and I’m sure they could find 14 boats not yet booked and offer discounts on them. It would probably be worth it for someone who has already booked a similar vessel to contact HW and have a grumble. What’s the betting they might also get a discount?

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3 hours ago, vanessan said:

to contact HW and have a grumble. What’s the betting they might also get a discount?

Been there a few years back. Wouldn't entertain it. 

Which is why I can understand the gripes about arbitrary discounts. 

But stil stick to my point about established discounts :default_biggrin:

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3 hours ago, NorfolkNog said:

Been there a few years back. Wouldn't entertain it. 

Which is why I can understand the gripes about arbitrary discounts. 

But stil stick to my point about established discounts :default_biggrin:

Oh well, just a thought. I do tend to live in my own little world where everything is rosy and everyone is fair!  :14_relaxed:

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Just reading this again it's a bit ambiguous (my post that is) :default_biggrin:

We had booked with HW early for February, I think we booked in the previous summer 

They then advertised a discount, maybe the first year they did the winter discount. 

I spoke to a lady who was quite sniffy (maybe the same one who was decidedly unhelpful when we got stuck with the fish barrier). She said we couldn't have the discount and likened it to a shop having a sale. But now it is a regular feature we take advantage every year. I think I am trying to suggest there is a a difference between established well publicised discounts and those that appear at the last minute. Phew. :default_biggrin:

 

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On 02/02/2019 at 21:44, vanessan said:

Oh well, just a thought. I do tend to live in my own little world where everything is rosy and everyone is fair!  :14_relaxed:

This is why some other yards publish a price, and that's the one you pay other than an early booking discount which is clearly shown on the website when you book far enough in advance.

With that system, you know you've paid the same as anyone else and although you may have missed the early booking discount we all know how to qualify for that.

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