Friday, February 18, 2011

hotel pricing small print

Over the years I have been a regular visitor to Athens - the one in Greece - and one of my favourite hotels is the Sol Melia [formerly the Hotel Georgio]. 

I am scheduled to go back this summer and I hope to stay there again - part of the reason why I signed up for their newsletter [it is actually a chain of hotels]. The newsletters are generally quite good, but in the one that came today, I noticed this in the small print:
Whilst the first four points are valid, why send out a newsletter which includes featured prices and yet says that the prices might not be valid? I can only assume that this is to cover the fact that some folk might take a while to open the email, but it does say on receipt, not when you read it. And if you are going to feature prices, why not fix those prices for a few days?  Just seems strange to me. 


  1. Hello Mr. Alan, I am one of your students and I’m Greek. The reasons that I can probably explain are the following and separated on the “angels” way and the Greek “devils” way.

    First explanation and the angels is here: The Greek government as I know at the moment is always increasing taxes and VAT even in services so probably with this statement that hotel informs customers for the instability that exists in Greece ( in all the sectors). On the other hand from my work experience I have seen this statement to all the newsletters, I have never seen a newsletter or even a leaflet that doesn’t have this statement so is probably because all the kind of businesses try to predict and react on the political and economical instability, so they aware their customers.

    The devils answer is the following: Old good traditional Greek businessmen. They give an offer, and when customers go there is very late to change opinion so they will pay extra. Greece it’s very known that increases prices especially during the summer and most of the times only to visitors and Tourists. On the other hand, as I can see that statement is on the small letters on the bottom of the newsletter, and usually most of the people as I know (The Greeks especially) they never read them, so probably if we suppose that they will sell to you their service more expensive than the price they say on the newsletter, they can prove that informed you that prices can change. So in a few words, they cheat customers, old good Greece, the conclusions of this kind of actions we can see them on the news every day.

  2. You raise valid points - and I suspect it is the legal department that insists on the phrase's inclusion.

    From a marketing perspective, I would argue that as email newsletters are sent instantly [not like the post which might take several days] then the prices could be guaranteed for that time - with the message saying that prices may change thereafter.

    Oh - and the newsletter is for all of the group's hotels, but I suspect Spanish traditions are similar to those of the Greeks :-)