Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What it Means to be "Cheap"

I just read an article saying "Cheap Ticket" was the number one searched term in 2010 for people looking for an affordable flight. Yet to think a decade ago, when I started, I can't tell you how many people said to me, "Cheap? Who in the world will ever book a beach vacation on a website with the word "cheap" in it?”. Looking back, I'd say just over a million people to date!

But let's face it, no one wants a cheap resort, but everyone wants a 4 star hotel at a price they can't find anywhere else. For whatever reason, the term "cheap" and "ticket" have always seemed to go together, more so than "cheap" and "resort" or "cheap" and "vacation". I think it has to do with the fact most airlines that fly to the Caribbean and Mexico from the U.S. are household names - American Airlines, US Air, Delta Air Lines, Continental, United Northwest, and JetBlue to name a few. Many customers feel these names are all strong brands, so a "cheap flight" wouldn't be associated with anything but a respectable airline. This has been the case for many years.

Now, the only problem is finding websites that offer all airlines. While is proud to be one of a handful of U.S. websites that still carries all airlines, we also want to be sure our consumers have access to the best vacations available at a price they can't find anywhere else. We offer more than 500 resorts, but more than 50 percent of our business is in 20 percent of our hotels. It seems customers know what they want, and when they find it at the right price, the rush is on and keeping inventory available at hotels is now becoming an issue. While some might complain, we are thrilled that our message of great customer service with unbeatable prices is still resonating stronger today than ever before. Makes me want to take a “cheap ticket" to the islands right now!

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