Saturday, January 12, 2013

Groupon Discounts - the truth behind their facade

Just over a year ago, I was getting calls a couple of times a week from Groupon, Living Social and their "coupon clones". Their claim was that they could bring my company, "heaps of new work, and that there were thousands of customers queuing up to buy my product that I was supposedly missing out on.

The problem is, as I pointed out to them, that volume sales doesn't match the service I provide. One of my competitors in the Harley Rides industry had already been burned getting involved with several of these discounters, and I didn't want to suffer the same fate.

My focus is on providing a Quality Experience for my customers. Providing Quality requires that the Harley Davidson motorcycles I use to transport my customers, are maintained and serviced to the highest standards. This means that their safety is guaranteed - that no short cuts are taken.

To achieve this goal I never service or repair my motorcycle - I'm not qualified to do that. I pay a qualified Harley Davidson mechanic $100 per hour plus the cost of parts to perform that task. This means that my bike and all the bikes I use are in tip top condition.

But, some of my competitors in the Harley Rides industry here in Melbourne, don't take my approach. They cut corners and maintain very old machines that are more prone to breakdowns. One of those uses Red Balloon and Adrenalin Tours as agents for their Harley Rides business and has fallen foul of Groupon and Living Social and lived to regret that experience.

Why book through a multinational holiday or "experience" promotional website?

To book accommodation, restaurants, holidays, Harley Rides etc go direct to the person who owns and operates the business he/she does not have to pay large commissions. Visit our website here at Harley Rides in Melbourne or call us direct on Freecall 1800 182 282 - our technical advice is free - you don't get that at Groupon etc. And as for Red Balloon and Adrenalin - they don't even conduct quality checks on the products they supply. All they are interested in, is getting their 25% Agents commission. At Groupon, after factoring in a 50% discount or something similar, and after they take their cut - that leaves the supplier with almost nothing. In my case not enough to cover my costs. And I'm not prepared to cut corners to get more business at the expense of scarificing my customers safety

Mr Rob Sims, ACCC ''People are buying a voucher and the circumstances are such that they cannot actually redeem it, and therefore they just lose their money. Many do get a discount, but some just lose their money,'' Mr Sims said. ''That is unfair on the small- business person who either breaks his or her back to try and meet them, or just suffers the reputational damage. And it is unfair to consumers.''

The owner of a Sydney driving school told the Herald his business was damaged by a group deal. He made no profit and had to put his own customers aside while fulfilling vouchers.

''It is not worth it [because] I made no profit at all and the price they advertise my business is too cheap for me. I cannot afford it [and] they take too much [commission].'

Before you do book something online - do your research. We have many good reviews on Trip Advisor - Harley Rides in Melbourne and are recommended by Tourism Australia . After reading many reviews, its pretty easy to tell which ones are fake.

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