Excerpt from Travolution
Widely-used online marketing techniques designed to unstill a sense of urgency into consumers look set to come under greater scrutiny following a probe by Which?, the UK consumer champion.
January’s Which? Travel magazine features the results of an investigation into travel promotions that include ‘hurry’ and ‘book now’-type calls to action, countdown clocks and scarcity claims.
Among the traditional tour operators and travel agents highlighted, lastminute.comand Expedia were also picked out for promoting flash sale deals appeared to promise more than they delivered.
A lastminute.com flight and hotel deal to Paris was found to reduce in price the day after a deal promoted as “exclusive” and with the strapline “Act fast to get the best deals”.
An Expedia flash sale featuring a countdown clock and the proclamation “Book now or miss out” was found to be cheaper two weeks after the sale having briefly risen immediately after it finished.
Lastminute.com told which? it was never its intention to mislead the customer and Expedia said it would investigate the issues raised by the consumer watchdog.
However, the investigation raised wider issues about the use of such psychological tactics to rush lookers into becoming bookers.