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Old May 17th, 2011, 05:15 AM   #1
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Seasonal prices?

I was booking some accomodation for a trip away today and it got me thinking...

Has anybody here ever considered having seasonal prices? So you charge a premium during peak season or offer a discount during quiter parts of the year?

I'd be interested to hear peoples opinions on this. Do you think it would just balance out over a year and not increase bookings/profit? Do you think it would be more likely to increase bookings in quiet periods or deter customers in busier times? Would couples percieve it as a discount or extortion? Do you think it might be more effective in location that already have distinct seasonal flactuations in other expenses eg housing/rent?

Looking forward to your comments...
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Old May 17th, 2011, 05:28 AM   #2
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Re: Seasonal prices?

It takes me just as long to produce in January as it does in June. If you promote different prices you establish in peoples minds that you are prepared to accept the lower price so they'll either try and get you for that even in the busy times, or feel un-trusting of your price.

Accommodation or travel have completely different business models where direct costs are committed to on the day and will be incurred anyway - staff, heating, lighting, fuel etc. We are more akin to tradesmen, if we don't have a job the tools stay in the bag.

However in a business where a walk-away may mean an unproductive day (and the ancillary days that attach) if might make good business sense to negotiate discounted prices during less busy periods. It all depends on your market and income needs.

Last edited by George Kilroy; May 17th, 2011 at 06:11 AM.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 07:17 AM   #3
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Re: Seasonal prices?

Hi John

I welcome the break in June/July here as it's cold and wet and I can actually have a couple of Saturday's to socialise instead of working!!!

However what I do to boost income a little is offer a small discount for brides that book and pay for their "later in the year" wedding during June or July. All that really does is entire brides to book and pay over Winter which smooths out your cash flow a bit. I don't think that inflating Summer prices is really the answer ... I tried upping prices one Summer some years back and the bookings just dried up!! There seems to be a sweet spot for weddings and if you are under OR over that spot you are often not considered by the bride.

Seriously, take a break over Winter, time of equipment servicing and replacement and also time to give yourself a rest too!!!

Chris
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Old May 17th, 2011, 07:38 AM   #4
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Re: Seasonal prices?

Its quite common practice here in the UK but mainly because thats how the venues work, therefore everyone expects every other supplier to also offer discounts.

Venues do it by charging the premium for summer dates and then less to attract the winter brides. They also offer discounts for midweek weddings. However, for them its a little more clear cut. Paying staff to work on weekends is more expensive so justifys their increased charge (or justifies their midweek discount).

Not so clear cut for us. Where as venues could do a wedding every day of the week we know we cant, simply because of the time it takes to edit and the physical capabilities of ones body.

Also, we find the brides with the budget to hire a videographer tend to also get married in the summer months. The budget brides who get married in winter are also unlikely to have a videographer.

As such we modelled our business based on working our little nuts off in summer and having next to nothing to do in winter. As such we price ourselves the same all year round. We are, afterall not a venue.

You can do the opposite. Model your business so the summer brides pay a crazy premium and the winter ones get you at the regular/discounted rate.

Try them both, see which works for you.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 09:42 AM   #5
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Re: Seasonal prices?

I really don't know how much of the UK Danny presumes to speak for but my non-summer brides ranging from Kent to Northumberland last year would take serious offence if they were thought of as "budget brides" who can't afford a video.

The intelligent answer to the OP is that this is the same as most other businesses. A single price is easy to sell, simple to understand and gives prospective clients the reassurance they're not being ripped off with add-ons.

If you're a little light on bookings you can easily make an exception verbally for a bride offering during that period. If it's short notice and you've a spare weekend, the same applies.

Everyone likes a bargain but no-one likes getting penalised for choosing to get married in the "high season".
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Old May 17th, 2011, 10:26 AM   #6
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Re: Seasonal prices?

Quote:
The budget brides who get married in winter are also unlikely to have a videographer.
Im not sure where I said all winter brides were budget brides. Let me just re-read my post again.... nope. Not placing that label on all winter brides.

So your stance is not to give discounts because there is no such thing as a budget bride. Good to know and thanks for your input.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 11:47 AM   #7
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Re: Seasonal prices?

In my experience (which is all I've ever written about) and research of half a dozen venues in the past 10 minutes, it would be accurate to say that some venues discount out of season, but certainly not all as the posting implies. And how the writer can state "therefore everyone expects..." is utterly beyond me.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 10:41 PM   #8
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Re: Seasonal prices?

Some interesting replies so far...

Chris, I agree that you need to take the holidays when you can. I'm not doing enywhere near as many weddings as you are (in fact I'm having back surgery in two weeks so no more weddings until next Summer), though I can understand in many cases you might not want to encourage brides to take your holidays from you!

Phillip and George - it certainly makes sense to negotiate on an individual (and verbal) basis as you both touch on, but would that then defeat the purpose - ie advertise lower prices to attract more couples in quieter times? You can either announce the discount to attract more attention, or you could offer it individually to seal the deal. This also raises the broader question of whether or not you publish your prices - if you don't, then does that give you more flexibility to offer a discount on an individual basis, or does it make it seem flaky when you offer a discount on an unpublished price?

I think hearing everyones responses it does sound like it would be too difficult to do, but purely for academic reasons, I'd love to keep the conversation going!
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Old May 17th, 2011, 10:49 PM   #9
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Re: Seasonal prices?

I offer lower prices for Fridays, and for Fridays and Saturdays in the off season I really go lower. Two reasons, many brides who book in the off season, especially January, Feb and March, are trying to save money to begin with. I offer an extra camera, etc, and we negotiate a lower price with lower expectations, and everyone is happy. The edit is usually much easier also. Those brides usually don't want getting ready, etc so it's a piece of cake all the way around. I'm filling a need for something affordable, and I earn a little bit as well.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 11:11 PM   #10
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Re: Seasonal prices?

Thanks for the reply Jeff.

I never even though about changing prices on weekdays as I've never had an enquiry that wasn't for a saturday or sunday. Do you advertise these discounts or is it something you discuss privately with them?
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Old May 18th, 2011, 12:14 AM   #11
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Re: Seasonal prices?

Hey John

I guess your people are more sane than the sandgropers here!! I have done Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.... Fridays are very common too!!!

My photog just did a big wedding 2 weeks ago on a Monday!!!!

Hope the surgery goes well....you will have to use something like GH2's the same as Jeff for a while so everything heals nicely!!

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Old May 18th, 2011, 02:02 AM   #12
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Re: Seasonal prices?

Interesting... I wonder what factors would effect that.

If anything I would've though the Gold Coast would have a higher percentage of midweek weddings compared to other locations due to
A) It being a popular holiday destination and therefore a common destination wedding location, and
B) The primary industries of tourism and entertainment mean a higher number of people are employed in jobs with non-standard hours (ie not 9-5 mon-fri), and therefore weekends are not automcatically convenient for most people.

Weddings on weekdays would completely throw my schedules out... I'd have to find something to keep myself entertained on a Saturday :)
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Old May 18th, 2011, 02:48 AM   #13
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Re: Seasonal prices?

Hi John

Saturdays, of course are still dominant here!! But Fridays and Sundays are also popular due to the drastic reduction in reception venue costs!!

The other days often have a special reason...Australia Day .... the patriotic wedding and some couples love to get married on the day they met. I'm doing a Wednesday wedding in September this year...but the bride gave me no specific reason!! Yeah, I had last Saturday off cos the bride had to posone until 2012 cos it was too late to book anyone (she had paid in full) and I must admit it was rather strange not shooting!!!

I'll have to get used to it cos from mid June to mid July the bookings are rather thin this year, but I'm still busy with Summer bookings and visiting couples.

Chris
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Old May 18th, 2011, 04:26 AM   #14
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Re: Seasonal prices?

I'm afraid that I would have to agree with Danny that the budget conscious bride is more likely to book a weekday or an out of season date.
I've lost count the number of times couples have asked for a discount because other vendors have.

I would say unless you are desperate, never advertise a discount but by all means make it sound like you're doing the couple a favour by offering them a deal.
The problem comes when you get a referral from a couple who are expecting the same discount you offered their friends.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 07:35 AM   #15
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Re: Seasonal prices?

John, I offer $100 off Fridays and Sundays upfront, and I get inqiries as a result. Sundays/Fridays are like found money, IMO and I try very hard to book them. I personally never have done a high-end Friday or Sunday wedding here in Cincinnati, all of mine in the last 8 years have been lower end.

I don't see a problem with receiving referrals by freinds expecting a discount. I would rather receive inquiries of any kind than none. If the inquiry is for a busy season date, I am less flexible, and I am honest with them, and they respect that. These discounts don't have to be like some kind of secret deal betweeen you and your customer. There are some dates you will not be able to offer discounts for and they know that.

Offering discounts on certain dates is done by the highest end venues and hotels, and if it is good enough of a strategy for them, it is good enough for me. It is how busines gets done.

If you are interested in advertising Friday discounts, or weekday events, go for it. Just put a line in somewhere that says "Discount available" for weekday/Sunday events and then work out the details with them, you don't have to committ to an amount in writing. You have to feel out the bride and find out what she needs, and wants, before committing to a price.

I know of videographers around here proudly proclaim in videographer meetings that they never offer discounts, as if they are too exclusive for that. Airlines, the best hotels, receptions halls, EVERYONE offers discounts as needed to get business. It would ridiculous to not do so for me. I do not pretend I am so successfull I do not need every single job I can get.

I also come across brides who are relatively poor, but have high end taste, who will want some kind of wedding video. They have 3 children, etc and are basically going broke to pay for their own wedding.

These are special cases, and I have booked one of them this year. I charged this client about half price during my peak season, because I wanted to help her, pure and simple. I like her, and her family is struggling. They shouldn't even be planning a wedding, IMO on their finances, but that is not my decsion and I cannot judge that. I'm doing my bit.
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