Friday, March 22, 2013

Scam or Good Business Practice?

The husband and I love cruising. It’s almost become addicting (what am I saying -- it IS addicting) and I’m guessing the cruise line knows this. How else can you explain the following?

My husband constantly checks the cruise website to find a good deal. A good deal for us is a cruise that costs less than $50/day, because we have other expenses to GET us to the ship (e.g. travel and hotel).

He was at school (yeah, sometimes he doesn’t have to actually teach, just has to be there) and got onto the website without signing in (because he wasn’t on his personal computer and he forgot what his user name and password were). He found a cruise for $48/day. Cool!

But when he got home and signed onto the site, the price for that same cruise was now $81/day. He checked the box for Returning Customer and got the same price. What gives? We’re returning customers. Shouldn’t WE be getting the deal? So he decided to find out what was going on (and by the way, all the options he chose we are eligible for).

Staying signed in, he cleared the selections and checked the Military (Retired & Active) box. Price = $70/day.

He cleared the selections and checked the Over 55 box. Price = $54/day.

He signed off and went back into the site (no boxes checked) and found that cruise again for $48/day.

Granted, he immediately signed in and could have purchased it for that price, but how many people actually do that? How many people have it so they’re automatically signed in (like my husband) when they open the website? How much you want to bet the cruise line KNOWS this, too? Hmmm??

If anything, this should tell you to experiment/shop around for the best price and then maybe even call the cruise line. Who knows, you might get a better deal. Don’t take it for granted that just because you are a returning customer (or a senior or military) you’re getting the best deal. Apparently, that ain’t the case!

So, do you think it’s a scam? Or just the way businesses operate?

Oh, and as for going on the cruise…? We’re waiting to decide until after the Golden Heart finalists are notified (March 26). You know, just in case… J



Michael Seese said...

Clearly, the low price is to entice new customers. But you would think they'd have some loyalty discount as well.

Maria Zannini said...

Oh that's just wrong. At least now you know what game they're playing.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Michael - They may be enticing new customers, but they could very well lose the old.

Maria - I'm sure it's not just the cruise lines, too. Who know what hotels do!

The Happy Whisk said...

This is interesting to me. Amazing really. Glad you got the best deal out there.