Understanding Gold Coast Accommodation Discounts

By: Terry Hely

Copyright (c) 2008 Terry Hely

We have all been on travel websites searching for great deals on vacation accommodation and seen the adverts for last minute discounts or standby discount rates, or some other variation on the same theme. All of these ads promise huge savings on the published rates. So what does all this mean and what do you, the potential buyer, need to understand about this market sector?

Discount sites are a very valuable service for connecting price conscious buyers with the lowest cost accommodation options, usually subject to a time limitation. The scenarios outlined below are discussed here simply to raise the awareness of potential buyers because there is an element of "let the buyer beware" in this marketplace.

In most cases the buyer will be entirely satisfied with the accommodation allocated to their booking. However, if you are a "price above all else" type of buyer, there are some realities that you should bear in mind.

Websites that specialize in last minute standby discounted accommodation are where the property managers off-load their unsold stock. Most of the discount sites have a limitation where a booking can only be made 21 or 28 days in advance. You are not going to be able to use these sites to book your annual vacation 6 months in advance for dates at the peak of the high season and get discounted rates.

Occupancy rates during the low season periods are much lower than at other times so the discount sites provide a valuable opportunity for property managers to market their units at lower rates. Guests paying discounted rates at least covers operating costs which is much better than no guests at all.

It's a fact of life that every property has hard to sell units such as ground floor or first floor units without views, or back of house units that overlook the adjoining property, or poorly maintained units where the owner has not spent any money. Yet the owners still expects a return on their investment so it is hard to sell those units to a public paying the full tariff. One solution to this predicament is to market the units on discount websites.

The key thing for you to realize is that these heavily discounted apartments are, for whatever reason, unsold stock that is hard to shift at published rates. If your dates are in low season, then there is probably no limitation on the apartment allocated to you as there will be lots of empty apartments. But if your dates are in mid or high seasons, then it is very likely that you will be allocated a unit that is unsold for a reason. Low level floor, dated and worn furnishings and fittings, lack of maintenance, no air conditioning are all possible reasons why some units end up in the discount pool.

Guests paying full tariff always get the best apartments to encourage them to come back next year and to provide word of mouth referrals. As a discount buyer you are not going to be allocated a prime apartment, thereby displacing a guest paying full tariff.

Taking all that account, happy hunting for the best price on your Gold Coast accommodation!

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