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Travel industry news

23 Nov 2018

BY Jennifer Morris


Black Friday: Why throw your marketing strategy out the window for a lame discount message?

Back to the 90s and the Fast Show, a comedy sketch show featuring the character Johnny Nice Painter.

Opinion Richard Dixon 2

"Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to attract bargain hunting, low margin customers... for everyone else, it's marketing suicide"

Each Johnny Nice Painter skit began with him looking out over a quintessential English countryside scene, paintbrush in hand, easel at the ready.


To the accompaniment of beautiful birdsong Johnny would paint away contentedly while waxing lyrical or singing a chirpy tune, until, suddenly like a thunderbolt of doom, the word “black” would come into his mind and he would become increasingly gloomy.


Eventually, Johnny would hurl his artwork and anything else within reach across the hillside with a voice filled with pain and anguish, screaming “Black. Black! Black!!”, before descending into a diatribe of miserable bleakness.


Now imagine your travel business is Jonny Nice Painter and your marketing is one of his works of art – lovingly crafted and painstakingly created. Every image and word is chosen with meticulous care and attention to stay on message and achieve maximum impact, consistently.


Then the thunderbolt of Black Friday appears on the horizon and you throw your entire marketing campaign across the hillside to create a lame discount message which not only blows a catastrophic hole in your strategy, it gets completely and utterly lost in everyone else’s blackness.


Black. Black! Black!!


For any business already winning via a discount message, Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to attract more price driven, bargain hunting, low margin customers who love it. And that’s fine.

For everyone else, Black Friday is marketing suicide.


Think about it. You spend months and months talking to customers about your service, your expertise and your knowledge. You build loyalty and win business even when you may not be the cheapest, because your customer has bought into your message and truly values what you stand for in the marketplace.

Then you hit them with a lazy discount message, which totally undermines all that hard work! Everything you’ve done to build your brand and reputation through the year is lost in a single “Black Friday offer” email subject line.


Unless your business thrives on a discount message, you should be chasing full price customers. The type of customers that appreciate expertise and great service. Customers that value their own time more than scrolling through website after website to save 50p. Customers that loathe everything about Black Friday.


Full price customers tend to be loyal and, with the right love and attention, can grow to be customers for life. What full price customers really don’t like is buying from you at a price they consider to be fair, only to catch you flogging off the same deal cheaper down the line.


Should you wish to build a base of customers repeatedly booking at a margin that allows you to make money, it may be worth thinking about how those customers feel when they see you out on the town this Black Friday night chasing anyone with a pulse and a credit card!

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