Thursday, 11 February 2010

Rate discounting

I am thrilled for our team at Sundial that we achieved the number one venue group in the definitive UK hotels and meeting venues benchmarking for 2009. We also retained our top spot for value for money and it is this result which left me a little puzzled.

2009 was dominated by a trend to cut rates with some of the biggest operators creating a mad scramble to generate revenue. We are not big enough to ignore these market forces and we knew that, as night follows day, expectations would demand we follow suit.

Avoiding the excesses of discounting was a brave strategy and we had to wave good bye to some great customers; their procurement colleagues demanded they take advantage of the deals. Most though stayed loyal and resisted the temptations.

I was pretty sure that we would come under pressure as the market leader for value for money. Strange to tell - we held our UK #1 value for money spot for the year with a final quarter customer approval rating 17% above the industry average. I bet the big boys are puzzled by that. Perhaps they don't realise that most people can tell the difference between unsustainable discounting and real value for money; or maybe buyers just didn't like what they found when they bought cheap?

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