This whole rate parity campaign has been full of surprises and never more so than at the eyefortravel conference this week in Amsterdam.
After my slight debacle in Budapest recently when two fine ladies relieved me of near enough £700 the night before I spoke at the Hotrec conference (I’ll save that for the book), I took a rather more cautious approach in Amsterdam and left the party early (thank you again, Pieter). I was fully expecting an intense grilling from the opposition in the Lion’s Den. It didn’t happen.
On the contrary, the audience response to my telling them rate parity is tantamount to price fixing appeared to be very measured.
The event was a great insight for me into the role of the revenue manager. I thought these guys made sure that coins and notes were kept separate and closely guarded the swear-box. Far from it. It turns out that revenue management is nothing short of a science.
I’ve been to arcane conferences before on such topics as vertical restraints in competition law and neurolinguistic programming but never have I felt so out of my depth. It was largely incomprehensible to me. There were more three-letter-abbreviations (they call them TLA’s) than I could decipher in a life-time. I’ve got a better grasp on morse-code.
On that basis, I imagined that the feedback to my talk on rate parity / price fixing would be couched in detailed mathematical analysis but it wasn’t. It turns out these same revenue gurus are also online shoppers and that the part of my talk which engaged them was the fact that rate parity makes for a really dull shopping experience. It practically kills it.
We all love shopping for a bargain – it’s at the very core of commerce – and if you take that away all you have left is loads of big brands spending vast amounts of money trying to draw you away from their competitors generic offering to their own.
So the talk was well received. Meanwhile, I was disappointed that my arch-rivals Booking.com weren’t there. It is their home town after all and I thought it would be fun to catch up with them for a beer and a schmoek. Perhaps they were too busy nicking lunch money off the local school kids (that’s a joke of course! – Dutch kids have their lunches paid for by the state).
I thought the event was a qualified success overall. I didn’t get side-tracked by beautiful faux-tourists offering to show me their city in return for my salary, I responsibly left the party at the right time and I didn’t get mauled in the den.