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Discount Double Take

October 11, 2019
Red signage on a store display reading "SALE".

This really should have been a, "What Not To Do Wednesday," blog post, but since I was traveling Wednesday, I decided to blog about this major, "No No," today.

In the world of outdoor hospitality, discounts are handed out like candy. You would never find hotels, restaurants, or airlines handing out discounts the way many in our industry feel compelled to offer. Just this week, I spoke to an owner (NOT an AOS park) and pointed out how much money he lost by offering discounts during a highly coveted football weekend. Not hundreds, but thousands of dollars. This is bad business!

The very first park I ever ran as GM, we offered no discounts. However, we trained the staff how to handle this in a very savvy way. When someone would ask, "Do you take (fill in the blank) discount, we would say, "The best discount we offer is on a stay seven nights or more. May we extend your booking to seven nights or more in order to offer you this discount?"

Not only did this stop the conversation over discounts, but it often turned a 4 or 5 night booking into a week long booking. It also prevented the staff from having to say, "No," to the "Do you offer discounts," question.

The other way we avoided giving discounts during peak season is by setting aside special weeks for firefighters, military, and policemen. We would offer special rates to them at a time when they could enjoy the park and we needed the occupancy. We would create special events just for them-free of charge.

Offering flat discounts regardless of time period is a bad practice. When demand is high and supply is low, discounts can cut deeply into revenue. Offer your guests a fantastic guest experience and great accommodations and you will not get pushback when you do not cut your rates with discounts during peak periods.