Two of the UK’s biggest travel companies have dismissed discount-deals site Groupon as of no interest, “appalling” and a way to “trash your brand”.
Groupon came in for the bashing at a Chartered Institute of Marketing Travel Industry Group (Cimtig) meeting in London this week when senior figures at British Airways and Tui Travel insisted they would never use the site.
BA UK and Ireland head of sales Richard Tams said: “The Groupon model is too much in favour of the voucher distributor. The evidence of repeat purchases through Groupon is appalling.”
Tui Travel specialist and activity sector managing director John Wimbleton agreed saying: “The danger with Groupon is that you allow someone to subsume and ultimately trash your brand.
“Every year there are 1,000 new ways for me to give away holidays. I want to raise my margin and increase my relations with my customers, so I’m just not interested.”
Tams added: “The voucher concept is an effective one. But at BA we use our own discount system. We issue a code that benefits a section of our customer database.”
The pair were speaking at a Cimtig Question Time, appearing on a panel alongside Hugh Taylor, chief executive of hotel asset management company Michels & Taylor; Suki Rapel, marketing director of Cruise.co,uk; and Tom Jenkins, chief executive of the European Tour Operators Association.
Rapel admitted: “I love Groupon.” Taylor argued: “Groupon is about late bookings. Yield management is about advance purchase.”
The price of shares in Groupon hit a peak in the US on Thursday amid excitement at the imminent listing of Facebook. Groupon is due to release its first quarterly figures next week.