Next generation in vacation savings: the “anti-coupon”
Tuesday 9, November 2010
“Coupons simply don’t work like they used to”, says Larry Raubach, Co-founder and Director of Marketing for Eat and Play Card, an exhibitor at World Travel Market this year.
Despite coupons being free and often widely available, “businesses kept telling us they’re disappointed with their coupon redemptions and didn’t understand why. We found the answers while interviewing tourists on the streets,” Raubach says. Irrelevant offers, annoying restrictions, easy to forget, a hassle to manage and embarrassing to use, were some of the reasons. And so the “anti-coupon” was born.
What’s surprising is that coupon use by leisure travelers appears to be dwindling at a time when you would expect the opposite. “Despite wanting the savings, people are realizing that they’re on vacation and the process of finding and managing coupons is simply not fun,” says Chris Ritchie, Co-founder and Director of Operations. But more importantly, “people want to manage their own expectations and like to plan around savings,” says Ritchie, “but coupons are like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.”
Eat and Play Card’s unique design and simplicity lets people identify and plan stops ahead of their trip, thereby ensuring they maximize their savings potential. And it has attracted some of the world’s most popular brands as partners. In its second year, it has over 140 participating locations, including: TGI Friday’s, Denny’s, Tony Roma’s, Friendly’s, Pizza Hut, Ponderosa, McDonald’s, McCormick & Schmick’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Reebok, Gray Line and AVIS, just to name a few.
Coupons don’t provide any direct value to tour operators or travel agents. Eat and Play Card, however, is positioned as a value-add for travel providers, helping them not only save their customers a small fortune, but also act as an incremental revenue driver. Leisure travelers are hungry for savings. “To many, these savings can make or break a holiday, while they can entice others to upgrade their package,” Raubach says. “Travelers are tired of being gouged with all the surcharges and taxes. Travel providers need to find a way to add value again.”
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