Calgary Herald

Hotels divided on flash sales


Flash sales — limited-time-only discount offers for hotel rooms — may be hugely popular among budget-minded travellers, but the hotel industry is strongly divided on the practice.

A recent survey by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administra­tion found that 42 per cent of hotel operators had at least tried flash deals, but 46 per cent of hotel operators said they had no intention of offering them. The remaining 12 per cent were considerin­g using flash sales.

Flash sales — offered to subscriber­s of such websites as Groupon, Livingsoci­al and Jetsetter — can offer discounts of about 45 per cent to 55 per cent off regular rates, according to the report, which surveyed nearly 200 hotel operators worldwide, most of them in North America.

But hotel representa­tives said the drawbacks to flash sales are that the discounts may be too deep, don’t necessaril­y entice guests to return and may create false expectatio­ns for lower rates in the future.

“We were surprised at both the high percentage of hotels that have used flash deals and the equally high percentage that want nothing to do with them,” said Gabriele Piccoli, a visiting research fellow at Cornell.

“It appears that hotels need to be strategic about how they construct these offers.”

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