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Clean Beds And A Lesson In Pricing

It’s tough not to get hung up on cost isn’t it? In particular, we marketers can get caught up in what our competition is selling their wares for and get a twinge of anxiety. Are we selling for the right price? What if someone else has found out how to do the same thing cheaper?

All this ignores what’s really important, however. And that’s the distinct difference between cost and value. To illustrate, here’s what happened to our family over the Thanksgiving holiday. We decided to make the 1000+ mile road trip from Austin to Virginia. The driving was great (we left Austin the weekend prior to Thanksgiving and started our return on Black Friday – thanks folks for shopping instead of driving). What was not so great were the cheap accommodations we went with along the way.

See, we didn’t intentionally choose cheap motels, but went with them because these are the ones that openly label themselves as “pet friendly”. The trip to Virginia, we went with a La Quinta which was serviceable. Not terribly clean but not terribly dirty either. The particular Red Roof Inn we went with on the way back to Austin was far less than okay (which is being rather charitable). Even though we had a nonsmoking room, the sheets reeked of nicotine. We were tired and accepted it, thinking its just for one night. At 3am, my oldest daughter woke us up and complained that her bed was giving her asthma problems and she was having trouble breathing. Well heck, if I’m awake at 3am I might as well pack us up and finish the drive…and that’s what we did.

My purpose to this story isn’t to pile on either La Quinta or Red Roof Inn. I’ve stayed in some nice ones. And I’m fully aware we should have changed rooms and mentioned it to the front desk. That’s on us. My purpose is to show that having the lowest price isn’t always the main selling point. Think we got any value out of that cheap room when we only stayed until 3am? Nope. I would have paid double to have a good night sleep.

So instead of engaging in that race to the bottom which is inevitable in any pricing war, think about value and what your target customers value in your product or service. Message to what problems you solve and how that value makes you the clear choice. It’s very likely that clean sheets and a soft pillow will beat out a cheap price to a weary traveler.

photo credit: Chrispitality via Flickr

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