Realizations about discounting

IMG_7051I was out in Central Asia again last week, delivering the second training to a group of motivated B&B and Guest House owners, and this time it was all about my favourite subject – online marketing ๐Ÿ™‚

This is such a vast area that we had to extend the 3 day training to 4 days so that they could at least get their guest attraction system “switched on” – which they did,ย  and more on that and a little test we didย  in another post.

But today, I wanted to share some interesting insights from the group around discounting.

What do you say when someone asks you for a lower price?

Most of the group were in the habit of letting guests dictate the price they would pay, but they weren’t happy about it.ย  It left them feeling slightly cheated and under-valued.ย  Can you relate to that?

So at the end of the first training in May, they decided to test “no more discounting” and here’s what happened….

One delegate said that after refusing to discount, a guest who had originally requested just one night then stayed for 8 nights!

Another delegate said that she found a certain kind of respect for herself when she refused to discount, which made her feel better.ย  She also said that when she feels good, her guests feel good too.

And here’s another delegate recounting his own realization about discounting….

The lady speaking Russian said the same (I know this because it was being simultaneously translated for me!ย  Just in case you thought I could speak Russian – I can’t!)

There’s a time and a place for discounting for sure, as long as it’s YOUR choice and you’re not feeling bamboozled by guests who sometimes make it their business to “get something for nothing” even though the reality is,ย  they have plenty of money.ย  It’s kind of like a game to them, but leaves us feeling bad about the whole situation.

What are your thoughts or experiences with discounting?ย  Leave a comment belowย  – I’d love to hear from you ๐Ÿ™‚








Yvonne Halling helps bed and breakfast owners, guest houses and small hotels to dramatically increase their income while working less and having more fun, using her award winning cutting edge sales and marketing systems that attract more direct bookings, increase guests’ spend and have them coming back for more.ย  CLICK HERE to find out how these systems could massively increase your business by booking a no-obligation Profit Makeover call with Yvonne now.

Also published on Medium.

12 Responses to “Realizations about discounting”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. I give a 10% discount when a guest books for 7 nights or more. I have actually just increased my rates, not by a lot but still an increase. You have taught me well Yvonne to know I’m worth what I charge. If travellers think the cost is too high ( I am mid range price) they will book elsewhere and leave the rooms available for guests who will pay what I charge.

    • Sharon, thank you for your lovely comment. You are a model student ๐Ÿ™‚ The point is discounts have their place, when we choose, not when we are pressured into giving them – it serves no-one. Thanks again ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Yvonne I could not agree more with you. Before, every time I accepted a discount, I had to deal with difficult guests, unsatisfied as their goal was not to get quality but to pay as less as possible so they were always frustrated… and I was too. Then I followed some marketing workshops and same as you, was taught to stay firm, to choose when I wanted to give some seasonal discount and what I wanted to give> I was also told that we should never lower our tariff, but rather give extras for the same price. ie rather then discounting a 3-night stay, offer a 4th night for half priceor gourmet basket….
    Same idea, recently a guest to be, whom I gave a lot of time to make up her mind about her stay, came back after a few weeks saying she wanted to shorten her stay. I stayed firm, said as of today I could not accept but I’d try to find someone else to replace. She started nasty, but as I stayed polite and firm, she sent an “apologies” email, saying she had had a bad week and that she’d stick to previous arrangements>
    So price or policies, we should stand for our value, politely, kindly, maybe find another way to please, but stay firm ! Thanks Yvonne for your wise pieces of advice….

    • Thanks Martine for your lovely comment – isn’t it amazing how much more respect we gain both for ourselves and our guests, when we don’t compromise our value. Appreciate you taking the time to comment and share your wisdom ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Peter Meleg says:

    Hi Yvonne
    We are now in our 10th year.Don’t EVER discount.It makes your product look cheap,end of story. In fact we are in our 2nd year of min 2 night policy.Guess what, we still have business coming out the ying yang and loads of bookings for this Summer. Yes, we are cherry picking the good bookings but it’s about working smarter and not harder. Online booking agencies, tell them to shove it, we don’t need them either, charging us a 15-20% per booking fee. Anyway, rant over for now. Keep up the good work. Peter Brockville Ontario Canada.

  4. MARIE DAVIES says:

    You know well my former philosphy of get as much business in the door as possible whatever way possible–a feeling of desperation This year, both from the confidence I have gleaned from your course, the tools learned in that course and from feeling I was undervaluing me AND my work with undeserved discounts, I very rarely agree to discounts.

    Only when asked, I give a miltary, police officer, firefighter and teacher discount ($10/night), but since that was recently abused, I now require ID.

    As you noted, I have renewed self-respect for what I do and offer. And, for this year, in the first five months of 2016, three have been record months for the 23 years I have been at this site. Clearly I don’t need to discount what I do!

  5. Mark says:

    Hi Yvonne, Looking fed to hearing more about the Guest Attraction System (for destinations?)

    • Hi Mark and thanks for commenting – the Guest Attraction System works for individual properties and destinations. I have emailed you ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Annie Harmond says:

    We do not discount. It devalues your product. We have increased our prices slightly and added extras into the mix. Have had a Minimum 2 night stay policy for years, and this year , our 5th in business have received more 3-4 night bookings and even 7 night bookings. We are only on one Booking service , however 95% of bookings come via our own website, so no commission to pay. We have many repeat customers and have had lots of “word of mouth” customers. We strive to give the absolute best experience possible. It works!!We have every weekend booked until the end of September at present, with 85% occupancy from April- end of September, as we are an Autumn/Winter peak period destination in the New England High Country of New South Wales , Australia. Cheers, Annie