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Thread: Evaluation of Hotels, Airlines, and other Travel Businesses

  1. #11
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
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    I would never get into it again unless I had the cash to put at least 3 of MY OWN PLANES in the air
    Not even the airlines own their own airplanes any more. These days it's about finding the seats, not the blocks of seats. Airlines aren't interested in selling 50-seat blocks any more... the supercomputers have run right past that gig. Nowadays, the A.I. working for the airlines watches the 7 a.m. news to see what kind of garbage the "experts" are spewing (i.e. "25 days in advance is the best time to buy an airline ticket"), then using that info to hamstring the average idiot consumer wanna-be travel agent. Nobody has the system figured out, because the truth is that nobody CAN figure the system out. It changes every millisecond. Every time somebody buys a "U" ticket, the supercomputers go to work, trying to figure out precisely WHY the person bought that ticket, at precisely that moment, and how that affects the overall ticket market. Within milliseconds, ticket buckets are shuffled and "prices" change. Airlines don't change prices 21 days in advance or on Tuesdays at midnight any more... prices change at the drop of a hat... any hat... Actually, prices never change... but I've already discussed that, many times...

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy1 View Post
    Not even the airlines own their own airplanes any more. These days it's about finding the seats, not the blocks of seats. Airlines aren't interested in selling 50-seat blocks any more... the supercomputers have run right past that gig. Nowadays, the A.I. working for the airlines watches the 7 a.m. news to see what kind of garbage the "experts" are spewing (i.e. "25 days in advance is the best time to buy an airline ticket"), then using that info to hamstring the average idiot consumer wanna-be travel agent. Nobody has the system figured out, because the truth is that nobody CAN figure the system out. It changes every millisecond. Every time somebody buys a "U" ticket, the supercomputers go to work, trying to figure out precisely WHY the person bought that ticket, at precisely that moment, and how that affects the overall ticket market. Within milliseconds, ticket buckets are shuffled and "prices" change. Airlines don't change prices 21 days in advance or on Tuesdays at midnight any more... prices change at the drop of a hat... any hat... Actually, prices never change... but I've already discussed that, many times...
    Interesting. I wouldn't want to own my planes, just have 100% control...either as a charter or on a wet-lease arrangement. For the mass market you need to have control of enough seats to move enough people to make some money. That gives you tremendous power in dealing with island Tourist Boards. If you are bringing a plane to their island 2 or more times per week they are going to pay up BIG MONEY for you to use in advertising. Back in the early '90s island Tourist Boards would line up to kick in $2 million or more per year for advertising if you were going to bring a plane to their island. Of course the island wasn't really paying for it...the customer departure tax fees were. Then you select your preferred hotels and go wheeling and dealing for net rates with a target of about 70% off the hotels published rack rates.

    It sounds as if you are telling me that tour operators/wholesalers don't package the hotel and air anymore but instead rely on customers to use expedia etc to book their tickets. Is that really the case? That's almost like the old days when travel agents booked the airfare and then called the wholesaler to book the hotel.

    And why would anybody use Expedia etc to book their tickets? I find those type of sites are generally a couple of bucks more expensive than booking directly on an airline's website.

    For what travel I do which isn't much I don't drive myself nuts trying to find the "cheapest deal". Once I know where I am going and when, I see which airlines fly the route I want, decide what I think is a reasonable price and then check the websites maybe twice a week until I find a price I'm OK with. Sometimes I get some "great deals" sometimes not so great but I have never felt I "overpaid". Although it is true that these days it often seems that any air travel is overpriced what with the sardine-packed planes. But then, these days flying is often less expensive than driving when you consider the cost of gas, tolls etc not to mention wear and tear on your car. But for sure I am not going to invest 50 hours in searching in order to save $20.

  3. #13
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
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    There will probably always be packages, but there certainly aren't as many today as there were 20 years ago. In this particular regard, the Internet has been a help to both consumers and travel agents. With hotels in particular, consumers and agents had no idea what their hotel options were, and even if they did, they had no way to conveniently sort through them all. Airline options are still pretty much the same... If you're lucky you might have 3 or 4 viable choices, and that's it. For example, flying out of Houston, you have United, Southwest, Spirit, and maybe one or two other viable airline choices... but you still have thousands of hotels to choose from.

    Packages nowadays are often "teasers." They'll rope you in with stuff like "Houston to San Josť for $599 for 7 nights". What happens is that you'll pick a flight and then be presented with the same list of hotels you would get if you just did a hotel search, or at least a very long list. It's not really a package, it's just airfare plus hotel. It is a catchy way to sell vacations though, as most people want to know the bottom line up front. It works even better if the hotel is all-inclusive. I like this method better than the old way, at least. Consumers aren't getting pigeon-holed into all booking the same flight and the same hotel... there is some choice and variety.

    I am not looking for the cheapest price either. For one thing, it's nigh impossible to guarantee the cheapest price the way things change so quickly these days. Whether it's 2-Star or 5-Star, I'm looking for "fair price." If the price is fair, it's time to book. Price margins, particularly with airlines, are very low. Ticket prices don't just drop from $500 to $300 without a very good reason, and there's always a "price to pay" if they do drop.

  4. #14
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
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    why would anybody use Expedia etc to book their tickets? I find those type of sites are generally a couple of bucks more expensive than booking directly on an airline's website
    It's almost always a bad idea, but it is convenient. People compare prices and then buy the cheapest fare right on the same website. Tickets should almost always be bought directly from the airline.


    EDIT: The airlines have actually used this particular aspect of the Internet to Prove My Point...

    There is No Reason to buy tickets from anywhere other than the airlines. The airlines, who have, throughout time, been mercilessly accused of fleecing the public... now, actually, have no secrets left to hide...

    You can accuse the airlines all that you want of fleecing the public, but the truth is that now, all of their secrets are laid bare, by the Internet... the airlines have nothing left to hide...

    No matter what you do... No matter what you say... Expedia, Travelocity, TripAdvisor, etc... have already exposed everything that the airlines have to hide. There is nothing left to hide...

    The airlines are an open book... To book a ticket with any entity other than the airlines themselves, is to bypass the most efficient method of booking that ticket.
    Last edited by Speedy1; 09-03-2016 at 02:31 AM.

  5. #15
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
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    If you are bringing a plane to their island 2 or more times per week they are going to pay up BIG MONEY for you to use in advertising. Back in the early '90s island Tourist Boards would line up to kick in $2 million or more per year for advertising if you were going to bring a plane to their island. Of course the island wasn't really paying for it...the customer departure tax fees were. Then you select your preferred hotels and go wheeling and dealing for net rates with a target of about 70% off the hotels published rack rates.
    Definitely doesn't work that way any more. Nobody cares about a plane coming in 2 or 3 or 8 times per week. All anyone cares about is the number of seats coming in per week, and the income that that seat represents. A $200 seat represents a certain amount of income... A $350 seat represents a different amount of income. The supercomputers crunch these numbers every day. "Rack Rates" are a government anachronism for an ancient estimation of income. Nowadays, the hotel super-chains use "target rates" to determine the best published rates to charge the consumers, to maximize their profits.

    We ARE talking about a world in which Marriott is merging with Starwood, to form the world's first "Mega Hotel Chain."

  6. #16
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
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    We also constantly face this aspect of the situation...

    How do we choose to deal with a State which intentionally bases its economy upon Tourism?

    Personally, I don't have a lot of sympathy for those States. Those States are in a full-on "Fleece the Consumer (Tourist)" mode. Why should I be sympathetic to them? I am not so inclined.

    Of course, in my business, I am often faced with the question of tourism versus State-sponsored tourist economy. Which way do I go? It's a difficult question.

  7. #17
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
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    For the mass market you need to have control of enough seats to move enough people to make some money. That gives you tremendous power in dealing with island Tourist Boards. If you are bringing a plane to their island 2 or more times per week they are going to pay up BIG MONEY for you to use in advertising. Back in the early '90s island Tourist Boards would line up to kick in $2 million or more per year for advertising if you were going to bring a plane to their island.
    The market has moved FAR beyond this concept. Nobody cares about "control of seats" any more. Nobody cares about Advertising those seats any more. Nobody cares if you are bringing a "plane to their island" any more. It's the age of the Internet. Every seat is sold "Piecemeal." The trick, nowadays, is to bring in a single seat, and to make that seat "Count for Something." In other words, what you want to do, here in 2016, is to be able to say to a business owner, "I can bring in a single customer, and that customer will drop $250 per day in your country." With most people doing their own research and making their own bookings, it's a pretty easy sell. I can tell a business owner, "Everybody in the USA is doing their research on TripAdvisor and booking their trips on Expedia... but I can get the customers that you really want into your hotel, if you really want them..."

  8. #18
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
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    Right here in San Josť, the Really Great niche hotels are lacking in the marketing department, which is sad.

    Sheraton San Josť, Hotel Alta Las Palomas... these are the hotels that you want to be looking at for your stay in San Josť. Forget the usual suspects like Grano de Oro and the Hilton Garden Inn.

    What you'll find in Costa Rica is that Ticos don't quite understand how to properly market services and goods. Therefore, the "Chain" hotels win by default, because they know how to market. But... that doesn't mean that the Chain hotels are better...

    Does that mean that the Chain hotels are always inferior? No... That's what makes the entire situation so fascinating...

    So... how do you know which hotel is the best choice? That is... a very interesting and valid question...

  9. #19
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    Sorry to take so long to reply Speedy1. Labor Day weekend is the busiest weekend of the year at my restaurant and since Friday afternoon I've done nothing but work and sleep. Mostly work.

    Sure sounds like the way I always did things are about as outdated and extinct as the dinosaur. Getting old sucks.

  10. #20
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter1 View Post
    Sorry to take so long to reply Speedy1. Labor Day weekend is the busiest weekend of the year at my restaurant and since Friday afternoon I've done nothing but work and sleep. Mostly work.

    Sure sounds like the way I always did things are about as outdated and extinct as the dinosaur. Getting old sucks.

    I think that's just the circle of life. After I'm out of the biz for a few years, I'm sure that it will be completely different.


    I always find it interesting what venue owners say is their busiest time of year. You're the first person that I've ever heard say Labor Day weekend. I suppose it just depends upon the clientele that you attract. I know one restaurant/bar owner -- right here in Costa Rica -- who told me that Thanksgiving weekend (USA) is his busiest weekend of the year.

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