At a time when lots of us are looking to beat the gloom by planning our summer holiday, we thought we’d help you make the most of your money by revealing our top ten money saving tips.
Tip 1: Forget last minute booking!
Ten years ago, last minute booking was the way to get the best prices (remember Lastminute.com?) – but those days are over. Due to finely-tuned discounting throughout the year, if you book at the last minute you now risk being left with the accommodation nobody wants. And nobody wants to be held to ransom by budget airlines for your last minute flights. Ever since Boxing Day the leading tour operators such as Virgin Holidays, Thomas Cook, The Co-Operative Travel and Expedia have been advertising 10-30% off their holidays. And even more deeply discounted deals are already here, with savings in the 30-60% range – if you know where to look for them. To help you keep track of deeply discounted holiday deals from Groupon, Living Social, Wowcher, Secret Escapes and many more, we’ve created special pages that are constantly updated. Choose from Europe and the Med, Longhaul or UK breaks under £100. We’ve also designed a discount travel search – just enter your search criteria and check back as often as you can.
The deals on all these pages are updated daily from sources such as Groupon, Living Social, Wowcher, Secret Escapes and many more – meaning you only have to check one place for a selection from across all of these.
Tip 2: Know the school holiday dates – and avoid them if you can
If you don’t have kids this knowledge is priceless as it can save you hundreds of pounds if you avoid the holidays. This year, for England at least, Half Term is likely to be 18th-22nd February, and the Easter holidays are likely to be the first 2 weeks of April. Summer Half Term will be the 27th-31st May, and the Summer holidays are likely to start from 19th July and right the way through to the end of August. Holiday dates are different in Scotland, with the summer break starting as early as the end of June until the third week of August. Up-market all-inclusive Mediterranean beach-based activity holidays with companies like Mark Warner can be fantastic value if – but usually only if – you travel at either end of the season and avoid the school holidays. You may also want to check out their “Big Summer Sale” running until 31st January.
Tip 3: Don’t fall for pricing gimmicks – look at the total price
Check the full cost really stacks up against the competition before falling for headline prices that seem too good to be true. Offers such as ‘Kids go free’ which sound attractive, aren’t always what they seem and the overall price can sometimes be even higher than comparable alternatives, so do your homework.
Tip 4: Consider countries which might sound a bit risky
For instance Croatia is a well-kept secret but many don’t consider it because of the war that took place there over 20 years ago. Today it’s just as stylish as Greece or the Balearics and has wonderfully well-preserved coastal towns. The island of Hvar is a stunner and only a short hop by ferry from Split. Another well-kept secret is Slovenia, the only country in Europe that combines the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Pannonian Plain and the Karst.
Tip 5: Go to the mountains, not the beaches
In the mountains near the Med the climate is wonderful during the summer as the extra altitude takes away the worst of the heat. Once the snow is gone, many European ski resorts offer cheap summer accommodation. The chalets and ski resorts of Europe offer some of the best value holiday accommodation out of season like Grindlewald in Switzerland, The Burgenland in Austria or Luz Saint Sauveur in France among others.
Tip 6: Find a specialist holiday company which caters just for you and strips out what you don’t value
For instance if you’re traveling alone you can save money on single supplements by booking with a specialist tour operator such as Solos Holidays. If you want a walking holiday but don’t need a guide, choose a self-guided walking specialist such as Macs Adventure, who offers many European trips including the Tour du Mont Blanc. On the French Atlantic island of Ile de Ré you can find some great-value apartments. This is a great budget choice, offering superb beaches, a long summer season and great cycling across flat paths that crisscross the island.
Tip 7: Go outside the Euro zone
The cheapest Euro zone destinations are Athens, Prague and Rome, but be wary of Venice if you’re looking to watch the purse strings.Northern Cyprus is a great destination for cheap holidays because it’s outside the Euro zone – it uses the Turkish lira. Prices on the ground are remarkably low and you’ll find some great special offers.
Similarly Turkey and Bulgaria offer affordability and a fantastic destination for culture, food and activities, while Budapest and Warsaw are the cheapest cities. Be wary of Oslo, Zurich and the most expensive European city Stockholm.
The cheapest Euro zone destinations are Athens, Prague and Rome, but be wary of Venice if you’re looking to watch the purse strings.
Tip 8: Go a little further afield
If you just want cheap sun on a one-week or two-week package, we recommend Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, a five-hour flight from the UK. Tunisia also has great beaches, delicious food and good-value hotels, though it can get a bit chilly in the mid-winter months. It’s better in October or March. The Canary Islands are popular choices and with good reason. The flight is 4-5 hours but the climate is excellent. Tenerife has a great variety of destinations from lively package resorts to charming country hotels. For nature lovers, we suggest La Palma, for walking, culture and quiet beaches. We also recommend The Gambia on the west coast of Africa – six hour flying time from the UK, with excellent beaches, friendly hotels and plenty of excursions on your doorstep. The Cape Verde islands are also great value.
Long haul options include Thailand where it’s possible to get by without spending too much at all.
Tip 9: Use the shoulder seasons to your advantage
The Aegean coast of Turkey has a very long season, as does Malta. A little further afield, Egypt has superb autumn and winter weather with near guaranteed sunshine, even in January. We also recommend Morocco, which combines great weather with cultural treasures and fascinating street life.
Tip 10: Go overseas without going abroad
The Isle of Wight is often overlooked, but it has a great diversity of sights, beaches and great-value places to stay, ideal for families. Steeped in history with 60 miles of stunning unspoilt scenery and a wealth of attractions, the Isle of Wight has something for everyone. From historic sites to music festivals and major national events, it’s a unique holiday destination.
While browsing the web this weekend, I happened to stumble upon a “full Monty tank driving experience.” For just a couple hundred pounds, I too could be the proud pilot of 4 different military vehicles including a nuclear missile launcher as well as try my hand at shooting different weapons. Once the initial series of exclamations and interjections had passed, I sat down and got ready for a new week at the office with somewhat of an issue to overcome. I already had a blog post done and dusted for the beginning of the week, but my idea for today’s article “5 ways to get great discounts from retailers using only a tank” had been turned down. Armed only with youth and lots of free time, I decided to brainstorm with the team and ask: Where is the market going?
We wrote about this in an article back in January. Our predictions were mainly spot on with a development of the major players and a stronger focus on customisation. Recent figures show a long-term slowing down in the growth of the daily deals market. Projected to grow by 86% this year, figures will likely fall to 23% next year and single digits in the years after. This market came to light in 2008 with the emergence of Groupon and its rapid expansion into a multi-billion pound company. Merchants had the ability to run offers with no upfront cost and benefit from the voucher company’s marketing strength. With the emergence of strong competition from players such as Living Social and KGB deals, merchants can now choose from a wider source of partners, but also benefit from the laws of supply and demand to pay out a lower commission to the voucher company. With declining revenue and an increasing number of institutions looking to share the cake, the voucher industry has no choice but to take one route: diversification.
For the average consumer, this path has 2 outcomes. First of all, it means that there is going to be an increasing diversity in offers available. Whereas the market was previously service focused with spa days, restaurants and experiences, there is now an increased availability of goods. This means, you’ll be seeing an increasing number of retailers partnering with deals aggregators (our fashion section is a good example of this). Travel has also experienced a massive surge with the development of websites such as Secret Escapes offering high discounts on exotic holidays and destinations closer to home offering hotel breaks at lower prices.
Another development is an increased demand for mobile. Voucher websites are often unfriendly for mobile navigation and though Scotland may be an attractive destination, most people just want to know what kind of deals they can easily access instantaneously. In an ultra-connected society where individuals are used to instantaneous communication and deliverability, it is necessary to implement a solution which removes the difficulties around this and can provide a hub for deals navigation.
However, this evolution does not only benefit the consumer. Indeed, a recent survey demonstrated that a quarter of small businesses were seriously thinking of running a deal within the next 6 months. What this translates into for the voucher companies is an increased base of businesses. Following the trend of diversification of revenue streams, companies are now offering an increased array of B2B services to these businesses and, in most cases, giving preferential terms to those who have already run deals with them. Whether it be payment processing, mobile redemption or assistance with business processes, once a company runs a deal they are effectively a new prospect for upselling. Considering the size of voucher companies, this means that small businesses may effectively end up outsourcing or at least collaborating with these larger companies to benefit from an expertise that may be too expensive to implement at store level.
That’s why we’ve been working on aggregating an increasing number of partners and expanding the offerings available to you. As our regular users have seen, there has been constant evolution on our website as we work towards making Buyometric your natural hub for offers around the web. We hope your experience continues to be as seamless as possible and welcome your feedback, so drop us an email and we’ll be happy to see what we can do for you.
When I’m not studying or conceiving ways to drive a tank into Harrod’s, you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or LinkedIn.
Good news! After 18 months of discussion, Living Social have finally come on board and now complete the picture to ensure that Buyometric really is providing a selection of ALL the best deals from across the UK.
Living Social has a huge range of offers to suit every type of deal fan and now those offers are available in your “daily dose of deals” courtesy of Buyometric. From local offers on restaurants, spas, and haircuts to national brand products, luxurious escapes and fantastic family experiences – there’s something for everyone.
So, what took us so long?
Living Social are a US company, and in early 2011, a decision in their Washington DC head office was taken to steer clear of working with deal aggregators. However the popularity of Buyometric in the UK has reached across the pond, and with the support of the Living Social UK team we’ve joined up with them in a strategic partnership that will see our users benefit from more choice than anywhere else.
We went to meet the guys and girls over at the Living Social UK head offices, and I have to say – I was impressed.
Signing in on a brand new iPad, before being shown to the “Social” bar was great, but passing the games room – Table Tennis, Foosball and Arcade Dance Machines – before dropping by the “picnic” meeting room (grass floors, picnic tables and sundrenched skies), made me realise that our own humble London Bridge office has a long way to go.
There was a definite sense of pride and achievement and we’re confident that this will shine through in the quality of the offers we’re now sharing with you.
To celebrate this new partnership and to show how ecstatic we are to be working together, we’re giving away £100 worth of Living Social vouchers to one lucky winner to be selected at random from anyone who purchases a Living Social deal through Buyometric before the 9th July 2012. Terms can be found here.
Europe’s first ever daily deal event, the DD Summit Europe 2012, will bring together over a dozen of Europe’s most important daily deal providers on one stage in London and there was no way we could miss out. Joined by representatives from all the biggest daily deal brands across Europe we’ll be out to meet and greet some our industries key players.
Joined by Kate Garraway, we’ll be showcasing our latest partnership (Goodypass.com) and hoping to talk to interested parties about the benefits of a White Label solution and the future of the daily deals space…as we see it.
If you want to come and meet us (or anyone else at the event) but haven’t got your tickets yet, please get in touch asap.
Hope to see you there….
Wowcher have been pretty prominent on your TV screens over the past few months and now they’ve reached your Buyometric screens too. With everything from Restaurants and Spa days to experience days, holidays abroad and more, Wowcher uses the power of group buying to get unbeatable deals on the best stuff to do, see, visit, eat and buy across the UK.
We’ve worked really closely together over the past few months to develop a Buyometric offering that oozes quality and we’re all really happy with the results and can’t wait to see whats next.
Qype Deals recently joined up with Buyometric to provide another fantastic source of discounted offers on things to do, see and experience across the UK. As Europe’s leading consumer review site, there’s very little that Qype doesn’t know about the best places to experience new things so you know a ‘Great Deal’ when you see a ‘Qype Deal’.
As Qype Deals get set to launch their service across the UK, I look forward to working closely with Mick and the rest of the team to offer Buyometric members the same great benefits and help spread the word up and down the country.
There is a great deal of speculation over where the daily deals industry is headed in 2012. Groupon’s IPO and Living Social’s recent fundraising activity have renewed talk of a bubble. Niche start-ups are entering the space on a daily basis, while longer standing competitors are dropping out of the race with increasing frequency.
In the UK an estimated 7 million people subscribe to daily deal websites. What will these consumers expect to see over the coming 12 months, and what opportunities exist to see additional growth?
As the UK’s largest aggregator of daily deals, Buyometric has a unique overview of the whole industry. We aggregate deals from most of the key UK players – from market leaders to tiny regional start-ups.
Overall, we expect further growth in consumers’ use of daily deal sites. The pressure on household budgets will increase through out 2012, with rising unemployment and the fact that pay rises almost certainly won’t keep up with the rising cost of living. Daily deals will benefit from an overall increase in the usage of money saving websites.
A key growth strategy for the largest daily deal providers will be a continued expansion in their areas of coverage, and increasing the number of deals available across the categories. Groupon remain, by far, the largest provider in the UK with twice the geographic coverage of any other player. Where they have trail blazed, others will follow. Large areas of the UK remain un-served by any local deal providers at all.
While the larger players with access to sufficient funding and marketing muscle will continue to expand, we expect some fall-out as smaller non-specialist daily deal websites drop out of the race or are swallowed up by the larger providers. Some daily deal sites have business models that are not economic. For instance Crowdity, Keynoir and Kelkoo Select have left the race recently (acquired by Wowcher and Time Out respectively) and we expect more buy-outs to follow as the larger sites look to grow their user bases in a cost effective way. Wowcher, Time Out and Money Supermarket will be the main beneficiaries of this consolidation and are rising stars to watch in 2012.
One area where we expect to see growth in 2012 is men’s deals. In recent research conducted by Buyometric, we found that women were on average over 40% more likely than men to be subscribers to the three leading daily deal sites – Groupon, Living Social and KGB Deals. Men are turned off by the untargeted nature of the main deal providers and so new male focused offerings, or better targeting by existing providers will be necessary to engage this group.
Ultra specific daily deal sites will continue to spring up in 2012, often being tied to an existing community website. Look for hobby niches such as golf (e.g. Daily Golf Deal), attitude niches such as environmental, or demographic niches such as mother & baby. However, unless they have a solid marketing plan or access to a large number of users, they will struggle to reach profitability. Sites with a small userbase will find it difficult to negotiate the commissions needed and sell in sufficient quantities to pay for sales staff. Without the sales staff, they won’t be able to negotiate enough deals to keep users making purchases. It’s a vicious circle.
We expect the continued growth of the aggregator in 2012 as users of daily deal sites get bored of receiving several emails a day and look at ways of consolidating the information about deals into one place. Our research1 found that over 50% of subscribers to daily deal providers receive 5 or more deal emails every day, and two thirds (67%) say that they do not always read them. The aggregator market will intensify, with an increasing number of intelligent “targeted” services replacing the current simple listing solutions. Expect to see larger international aggregators extending their reach into the UK, and vice versa.
The main daily deal sites will also start to offer some limited attempts at personalization, however it will still be in their interests to present their users with as many deals as possible, on the off-chance that they will be interested.
Even if the overall number of UK subscribers does not grow, sales growth of at least 20-30% can be expected just from existing users, since there are many sitting on the sidelines without having made a purchase yet, who can be expected to get involved in 2012. Our research in November and December 2011 identified that whilst only 69% of subscribers to daily deal websites had already bought a deal, 96% said they planned to make a purchase in the next 12 months. Much of this growth should come from men, who have not been best served by daily deal sites to date.
Our final prediction is that as a consumer, you’ll find yourself presented with daily deal buying opportunities in a lot more of your favourite places in 2012. Even if you didn’t think this was possible, you’ll soon see your own favourite websites such as local discussion groups and special interest sites re-packaging relevant deals from multiple suppliers in order to monetise their traffic. White-labelling of daily deals will become the trend of 2012.
It was announced today that the Office of Fair Trading are to investigate Groupon over claims that they have mis-advertised some deals. We’ve just completed a survey of over 1,000 users of daily deals [more about this in future blog posts], and we found that, out of over 400 users who had recently purchased a Groupon deal, only 4% reported that “the product or service was disappointing or not as promised”. That’s 96% who had no issue with the description provided by Groupon.
Of course, it is always really important to read the fine print on daily deals to avoid disappointment, and we would not like to pre-empt the result of the OFT investigation, but we are very happy if this investigation leads to all daily deals providers being a bit more careful with their claims.
As a reminder, if you do have any problem with a daily deal, make sure you take up the problem with the daily deal website. We at Buyometric can help our users with this, if you’re having any trouble. We send hundreds of transactions to Groupon every week, and we’ve found Groupon customer service to be particularly good at rectifying issues with customers if anything goes wrong with a deal. But we’re also here to help you through your issue and take up your cause if necessary. Hopefully a bit more reassurance for our users.
We recently partnered up with another great daily deals site – LyncMeUp. We had our launch today and they’re already becoming one of our most exciting partners yet.
CEO Darshana was quick to spot the benefits of working with Buyometric and we couldn’t be happier. Our members are now benefiting from an even wider selection of fantastic offers and LyncMeUp is constantly growing so keep your eyes peeled for more great deals.
They bring you great lifestyle deals and experiences that can be shared with friends and family across the UK.
We knew we were in safe hands when we met with Kidoo and discovered that the founders had previously been involved in the world of Daily Deal aggregation. Like us, they understand that not everything is for everyone and that makes keeping you up to date on deals by your favourite children and family brands all the more straight forward.
Kidoo cover everything from baby essentials, children’s and maternity fashion, healthcare, toys, to soft-play activities, unique experiences, family holidays and everything in between.
We know they’re going to fit right in and look forward to working closely with them to really improve our family deals offerings.