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Cam044

Jacking up prices before a sale

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Is it just me or does RCL jack up their prices on excursions and internet etc before putting it “on sale”? Supposedly there’s a sale on right now with up to 25% off excursions and 20% off internet. I find this hard to believe since the one excursion was $90 weeks before the sale and now its listed as $125 on sale. Same with Voom surf + stream; was $31.00 for two devices weeks ago (should’ve grabbed it), and now on sale it’s $42. I’m worried prices are just going to keep climbing, but the current prices are just outrageous imo. We sail Explorer of the Seas Dec 2019.

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Every sale comes with the fine print "Not every ship or sail date". 

I've never seen a sale that applies across the board to every excursion or every cruise planner item.  

Like everything Royal does, they use data analytics to understand how to maximize revenue and react to supply and demand changes in the market. 

It's 200 days before the cruise and if no one has ever purchased a particular excursion on a particular cruise date they might drop it 30%.  People like me see that and buy it.  Now out of 20 seats available say 6 have been purchased.  Sale ends the price goes back up but not to the full price it was originally, rather to 95% of the original full price.  Many people are not thinking about excursions 200 days out so many people never see this sale.

No it's 100 days out and the next sale they drop the price to 20% off the original price.  As the cruise gets closer more people are looking.  They never saw the 30% off, they just see 20% off so 8 more people buy it.  Now 14 of 20 seats are sold.  Price goes back up to 90% of original price. 

Fast forward two months and maybe one person bought it at full price oblivious to the previous sales.    Now it's 75% sold out.  More people are clicking on it so they know there is interest so with the next sale they drop the price 15%.  Three more buy it and the guy who bought it at full price catches the price drop and re-prices.  Now 18 of 20 seats are sold. 

A month later they drop the price another 10% and the final two seats get sold so now this one excursion is sold out.   

Play this scenario out on each individual excursion on each individual cruise date.  

Depending on sales trends each excursion runs down a different track.

For the casual observer who only focuses on a couple excursions it seems random.  Prices go up and down then a new sale isn't as good as a previous sale (because they have already sold some and only have a partial inventory left to sell now).

For many businesses in the past they couldn't see the granular details of sales trends such as how some things might sell better at 90 days compared to 120 days.  Maybe for a particular something, if it isn't purchased by day 60 it's less likely to be purchased at all.  Armed with these analytics they know for that one something they had better get it sold before day 60.  For a different something maybe sales are slow until day 75 then they take off.  

Being able to collect all this data and analyse it they can determine how to maximize revenue.  

Excursions priced under $100 will sell different than excursions between $100 and $200 that will sell differently for excursion priced over $300.  Each has to be treated differently in the discounting process during a sale event.

Today businesses don't have to rely on the old method of putting everything on sale just to generate cash flow.  Today, smart businesses are armed with a lot of analytics to more intelligently create sales campaigns and maximize revenue while not leaving money on the table.

With 25 cruises booked I have the ability to see things from a different perspective from someone with one or even a couple of cruise booked.  With this many cruises booked I can see some items on one cruise go on sale but not items on a different cruise.  A month later and one excursion for cruise #17 is cheaper but only one of four I have booked for that cruise.  A month later and all three excursions for cruise #21 are cheaper.  

I keep a spreadsheet that tracks items I am interested in.  I have the maximum price I have seen and the minimum price I have seen.  Every week, sometimes multiple times a week I check prices.

The White Island Volcano Experience was $324 but once offered for $243.  Today it is $307.99.  That's still cheaper than the maximum price and maybe next sale it will be $299.  It might seem to someone that they increased the price to $308 so they could put it on sale at $299 but that isn't the case, they just never saw the $324 price so they don't know any better.

1292663946_OVExcursions.jpeg.afefcec7c7598929d1509d11b2c6333f.jpeg

Next time you are on an excursion look around.  Someone paid more than you and someone might have paid less than you.  That's just the way it goes.

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Shorter answer ... yes they do play games with the pricing too make you think you are getting a better deal.

Sometimes there really is a good deal where they are struggling to sell something but its mostly marketing speak, with that said if you wait until you get onboard they do jack up the prices onboard so even if the sale isnt really a sale its still better than you will get if you dont take the deal.

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7 hours ago, jticarruthers said:

Shorter answer ... yes they do play games with the pricing too make you think you are getting a better deal.

I see things differently.  

Once on board there are always new cruisers who have never sailed before lined up at Shore Excursion paying the full and higher price.  Look at the excursion books left in your cabin.  The on board prices are always highest.  The same can be said for Voom and other items like drink packages.

Anything discounted from on board rates is a sale price. 

Not all cruise planner sales are equal and not all ships and sail dates will get the same discounting but anything that is lower than on board prices is a sale price, not a marketing game trying to deceive guests.

99% of the time when you purchase something in the Cruise Planner you are getting a better deal.  Just ask the folks on their first cruise paying full price on board.  Once you tell them about the Cruise Planner, they won't make that mistake again.

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Keep in  mind that you don't have to be permanently locked into the price you paid for things in the cruise planner.

If you buy something and find it on sale cheaper later, you can simply cancel the original purchase and re-buy it at the lower price. I've found original purchase will usually be refunded within 2 business days.

The most often items that people seem to do that with is the beverage package. Last year I bought the beverage package to $47 PP/PD, It later went on sale for $45 PP/PD. I also did this with two excursions.

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9 hours ago, Cam044 said:

Is it just me or does RCL jack up their prices on excursions and internet etc before putting it “on sale”? Supposedly there’s a sale on right now with up to 25% off excursions and 20% off internet. I find this hard to believe since the one excursion was $90 weeks before the sale and now its listed as $125 on sale. Same with Voom surf + stream; was $31.00 for two devices weeks ago (should’ve grabbed it), and now on sale it’s $42. I’m worried prices are just going to keep climbing, but the current prices are just outrageous imo. We sail Explorer of the Seas Dec 2019.

For my cruise next month the percentage discount on excursions (for most) has generally declined.  We purchased at 25% off months ago, and then sales said 20% off, and now 10% off on-board prices.  However, some excursions don't sell out, and I was surprised to see a snorkeling excursion at Coco Cay at 25% off.  This gets to the other members who have commented on the supply and demand factors -- some excursions are more popular than others, driving up the price.

If you aren't sailing until December, you may see a Black Friday sale in November, but who knows what the price will be.  Thus, the strategy others have talked about -- buy at a fair price and re-book if it goes lower, or re-think what you really want.

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9 hours ago, twangster said:

Like everything Royal does, they use data analytics to understand how to maximize revenue and react to supply and demand changes in the market. 

I would go so far as to say I suspect most of the prices you see have never been set by a human. The humans set the base prices, and launch the sales, but everything else is almost certainly adjusted by the computer in real time. Nobody could hire the staff required to set the prices for every item on every cruise, it has to be automated.

So essentially, nobody is out to cheat you...but they are out to sell their stuff for the most money they can get while filling up all available space.  It's a remarkable system, especially when it's not your money on the line. 🙂

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22 minutes ago, joshvc said:

I would go so far as to say I suspect most of the prices you see have never been set by a human. The humans set the base prices, and launch the sales, but everything else is almost certainly adjusted by the computer in real time. Nobody could hire the staff required to set the prices for every item on every cruise, it has to be automated.

So essentially, nobody is out to cheat you...but they are out to sell their stuff for the most money they can get while filling up all available space.  It's a remarkable system, especially when it's not your money on the line. 🙂

Absolutely, and cruise planner prices will be better than on board prices 99% of the time.  

If you don't watch it closely you might not get the best price you could have, but it will be cheaper than on board.  If you didn't score the best price, that's your fault, not deceptive marketing.

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I've never seen the base price for something on sale for a particular sailing increase. For my up coming cruise, when the 30% off drink package sale happened, it was the exact price I expected from the base price I calculated from previous sales.

The marketing will definitely make it sound like it's a great deal, when in reality, (drink price example) 20%, buy one get one 1/2 off (aka 25%), and 30% really aren't that different from one another. My next cruise, the difference between 20% and 30% is $7 dollars a day per person. Sure, that adds up, but it's not as big as marketing makes you believe. 

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One of the things that I learned early on from these boards is that you can't pay attention to the percentage off or sale they are claiming there is on a certain item. Just track the displayed price and buy it when you like the price and cancel/rebuy if the price ever drops. I fully accept that I am not an example of normal shopping/cruisers, but I generally will check the pricing of various items in the Cruise Planner daily to see if there are any random price drops. I feel like I've noticed that excursions in particular will sometimes randomly drop in price in the middle of the week for no reason. There's no sale going on, but they are suddenly cheaper. That's when I swoop in and grab something just to lock in a price. It helps matters that I view getting the best price as a sort of game so I have fun checking on various items that I'm interested in. 

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5 minutes ago, SpeedNoodles said:

When it comes to shore excursions, I don't even go by sales.  I check frequently, and the lowest prices that I've paid on any shore excursions have popped up when there were no sales going on.

This is really the only way to do it and as Spiralqueen noted, the % off is just a distraction.  Last week I was randomly checking (as I do daily) and noticed that the price of the Unlimited Dining Package on my Anthem Feb 7 2020 cruise had suddenly slipped to $176 PP.  Routinely, even on “sale” it never dropped below $199 PP so I snatched it and cancelled my previous $199 purchase.  It has never re-appeared at $176.  I think I caught an intern glitch !  

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4 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

This is really the only way to do it and as Spiralqueen noted, the % off is just a distraction.

I agree and follow this approach.  The issue I have is what appears to be false advertising.  I have been watching the VOOM pricing on a future cruise and it was priced at $15.99/day with no promotion attached.  Then, after watching this for 2 months I logged on and VOOM was promoted as on sale for 20% off with the same price $15.99/day.  Most likely VOOM was always discounted the 20% it was just not advertised but it could also be interpreted as Royal raised the price to promote a 20% discount at the same price.

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1 hour ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

This is really the only way to do it and as Spiralqueen noted, the % off is just a distraction.  Last week I was randomly checking (as I do daily) and noticed that the price of the Unlimited Dining Package on my Anthem Feb 7 2020 cruise had suddenly slipped to $176 PP.  Routinely, even on “sale” it never dropped below $199 PP so I snatched it and cancelled my previous $199 purchase.  It has never re-appeared at $176.  I think I caught an intern glitch !  

This happened to me with an excursion, I put it in the cart and got distracted. Went back the next day and it was about $10 dollars less (for both) so - hey win! I try to make it at least a weekly habit to check prices.

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Thanks everyone for your insight and advice. I usually am on checking daily or every other day, so hopefully if I keep watching I’ll get lucky and score a great price for the excursions I want.

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The “sale” price for anything, anywhere, has to be >= the cost + labor + reasonable profit. If it is not, said business will not be around very long. This goes for a sale at Walmart, Home Depot, Carnival, cruise line, or Royal Caribbean. 

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