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Stranger

Herbert Woods Offers

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5 hours ago, Stranger said:

Woods are doing some  cheap offers this November  up to 20%off and free fuel 

Make sure Howard (Norfolk Nog) knows, he`s a regular winter wanderer.

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During the season we met with many holidaymakers and on more than one occasion they were disgruntled that their hire yard with which they had booked the year prior as was the norm were offering the same class of boat the same week for up to  (in one case) 60% discount (and no this information was not passed on by me nor did I raise the subject) , many stated that they would never again book a year in advance , in all other businesses nowadays the discounts are given to those that book early not last minute ; I think the current trend with some of the hire yards could hurt their cash flow in the future 

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I suppose the argument is that if you book a year in advance you can get the exact boat you want on the exact date you want. For us that is quite important as we like to go at specific times. Also Mrs Nog only has limited holiday which must be booked in advance and we need to book train tickets too. We booked with Bridgecraft for next year as soon as we returned the boat. I think these offers are great if you can take holidays at short notice and can be flexible with your boat choice.

For example I think the ex Swancraft boats at Richardson's are understandably very popular and if you want one you need to book far in advance.

In his book Robin Godber said that "discounting is death"

Interesting one! I can see the point of view though.

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When we hired we too booked For the following year when we arrived back at the yard (NBD normally) after our holiday , BUT the huge discounts now happening didn’t then .

seeing the huge variety of boats that were available at a substantial discount throughout the season this year I would nowadays wait , that said , as long as I was afloat then to a degree any boat would be ok for me .


One gentleman I spoke to had hired a relatively new cruiser from Ferry , it cost him almost £1500 , he spoke to another same class of boat hirer from Ferry that had the same week the same craft the same everything for £940 he wasn’t happy at all 

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It does seem to be a more recent phenomenon - the simple explanation would seem to be supply is outstripping demand particularly at quieter times. Perhaps better to have boats out earning a crust. Problem is it does create dissatisfaction. Thorny one.

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The HW promotions for November and February are quite tempting and I can see the point of out of season offers to keep the cash flow ticking over. We may now hire in February half term.

I have mixed feelings about discounting, I imagine that a significant % of a yards turnover is earned between May and September, if they price too high they can always offer a discount, but if they price too low they could find themselves fully booked but barely covering their overheads. Difficult balance to get right.

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This is one area where Richardsons stand out from the rest by offering the same price whenever you book with no discounting. They do that out of fairness to customers and I'm sure it makes good business sense also. This week they've released 2021 bookings so you can book exactly what you want knowing the price isn't going to drop nearer the time. 

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8 hours ago, Broads01 said:

This is one area where Richardsons stand out from the rest by offering the same price whenever you book with no discounting. They do that out of fairness to customers and I'm sure it makes good business sense also. This week they've released 2021 bookings so you can book exactly what you want knowing the price isn't going to drop nearer the time. 

I thought that Richardsons offered customer loyalty bonuses?

Regards

Alan

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9 hours ago, NorfolkNog said:

In his book Robin Godber said that "discounting is death"

And one has to ask oneself - why are there so few boatyards left on the Broads, when only about 30 years ago, there were well over a hundred?  This is probably one of the main reasons, although there were, of course, several others!

In the old days, yards had up to 60% regular customers and the rest of the season would probably book up during the Earls Court boat show in January, where there would be queues of people at the Blakes and Hoseasons stands, having filled in the booking form on the back of the brochure.  There was no discounting whatever and the price in the brochure was what you paid.  Guaranteed, as it was a rule of membership (certainly in the case of Blakes) and even the practice of offering a discount off next year if you had a complaint, was not done then.

In such a strictly seasonal business, you cannot balance the books unless you can reasonably calculate what you are going to earn from the season, and this all has to be decided (and agreed by the agents) by around the end of September, so that regulars can be informed of the price and so that the brochure gan go out in the mail to arrive before Christmas.

Nowadays, there is often no brochure at all any more and you can book on line at any time up to the departure date.  It also means yards can easily advertise a discount on line, which was not possible before.  The internet is a wonderful thing in many ways but it also has a lot to answer for, in my opinion.

I fear, however, that the real problem is the new tour operator management mentality of "bums on seats" and a lot of yards (such as Le Boat) are now owned by tour operators.  In that business, you charter an aircraft, to run people out to pre-booked hotel rooms on a beach somewhere in the Med.  Once you have sold a bit more than half the capacity (on the plane and in the hotels) at the full price, you have paid for the operating costs.  So any other "bums" that you can "put on seats" for whatever discount, is clear profit. 

I am afraid this approach just doesn't lend itself to the seasonal business of boating holidays on inland waterways, but you can't tell them that.  They are the wizz - kids and they know better, so you just have to let them find out for themselves after a few years, when they they start wondering why these ideas don't make money.

Even pure "package" tour operating doesn't often work any more.  It didn't work for Freddie Laker and just recently, it hasn't worked for Thomas Cook either.

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1 hour ago, Vaughan said:

In the old days, yards had up to 60% regular customers and the rest of the season would probably book up during the Earls Court boat show in January, where there would be queues of people at the Blakes and Hoseasons stands, having filled in the booking form on the back of the brochure.  There was no discounting whatever and the price in the brochure was what you paid.  Guaranteed, as it was a rule of membership (certainly in the case of Blakes) and even the practice of offering a discount off next year if you had a complaint, was not done then

Hi Vaughan, well this brought back memories,when my Dad took me to the boat show at Earls Court to see the new HW boat Silver Light.Sliding centre cockpit woody,and of course you could clamber all over it to see if you liked it.We did and booked it for the following Summer,a wonderful boat,and i suppose its like hiring one of todays "gin palaces".Although a lot smaller!   Regards Kevin

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When I see discounting I often see poor planning and cash flow problems in the background.

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33 minutes ago, Maxwellian said:

When I see discounting I often see poor planning and cash flow problems in the background.

This is true to an extent. It's coming out now that Thomas Cook were inviting people to pay in full at the time of booking in return for a 5% discount. This was not just on their own holidays, but also on the holidays of other operators sold through their shops. Many of these operators are finding to their horror that though a 5K holiday had been paid for in full by the customers, only a deposit had been paid to them. It seems the money is not recoverable through the ATOL scheme and they are having to stand the losses. 

Most charter airlines have gone now - there are only a few European ones left. Jet2, Tui, Ryanair, Easyjet (who are about to re-enter the market as a holiday operator) are all low cost airlines which sell seats with or without accommodation. As such, their yield management systems set the prices, which as is patently obvious, are all over the place at any given time. So it's not possible to know if you got the best price without asking the person next to you. That probably happens on a tiny scale but I think generally, people have got used to the fact that prices fluctuate. It will probably work its way through boating as well, if they keep on discounting. I do think that some of the yards inflate their prices just to drop them. Brooms and Bridgecraft spring to mind. 

In the end, it has to be said that there are so many competing industries for your money, and everyone is looking for best value nowadays. Loyalty to a brand comes second to price in most cases nowadays. The boatyards are probably seeing these multi-thousand pound craft lying unused and thinking what can they do to entice the consumer away from the cheap deals overseas.

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the big problem is that to take advantage of these cheap offers you have to be able to book holiday off work at short notice (or be retired) I already have 2 weeks of my next years holiday booked (as well as the boats) to ensure that I can get the weeks I want (both with the boatyard and at work)

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32 minutes ago, grendel said:

you have to be able to book holiday off work at short notice (or be retired)

That's exactly the point. Added to that we need to book train tickets too, so it's certainly not for every one. Very nice if you're retired but have the where with all too!!

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Agreed. If you want the exact boat/week you need to book in advance. If you are flexible - or prepared to risk it you can get a good deal. I used to work with someone who went to Greece for their holidays. They always booked the flight, but not the accommodation. Simply got some transport at the airport and drove round until they found somewhere. Out of the high season its virtually unheard of for yards not to have many boats in, so if you are not bothered which boat you get, book your week off work and your train and wait until the day before to book your boat! I suspect not may people would risk it, but if you are prepared to do so...

One large canal hire company used to offer a 'bouncer' discount. Basically you booked a week and number of crew and the company gave you whichever boat it had left from any of its bases. I think it was something like 20-30% off. Strangely they don't do this now, so perhaps there wasn't much take up.

But, companies do offer discounts for booking early. I've already booked for next year and got an early booking discount, a loyalty discount and an affinity discount - in my case as a member of CAMRA I get 10% off if I book through Hoseasons. Many employers/unions/clubs offer such affinity deals, so its always worth looking at member benefits of any organisation you are a part of.

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To my mind there are two very important factors that come into play for both parties, both buyer and seller. 

Fear of loss and greed for gain.

Old Wussername.

 

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