Or rather: giving discounts makes me itch. Not a normal kind of itch that passes, but an unbearable itch, right where I can't reach it.

The speed of light is considered unbeatable. I'd like to contest that. Our MICE industry beats light by a mile when it comes to discounts. The customer makes a slightly odd move, discount. The customer looks a bit pitiful, discount. The customer writes a sentence that's longer than usual, discount. The fact that the customer simply had a big party the day before and didn't take their paracetamol in time, no, that couldn't be it. The customer wants a discount. Discount, I tell you, or we'll lose the deal. Yes sir, madam, reduction.

I repeat, an itch, right in the middle of my back, and I'm not in the slightest bit supple.

And I have one traumatic spot that won't stop itching, my personal discount spot, I cherish it, I have to. I'll explain myself further.

Why then? Why do we keep that 8%, 10%, 12% or, if we're really lucky, 15% commission, margin, gross income, as a starting point? Is there a single colleague who would dare to look me straight in the eye, without blinking (note, I can read body language, I did a course in it), and dare to say: "Jan, I can survive perfectly well on 8%, I think that's more than enough. Further still, I'll even give a discount. I think it's perfectly legitimate for our customers to ask for that." I challenge you then, to look me in the eye and say that to me. I won't laugh at you, I was brought up properly, but I will give you a pat on the back, or rather, I'll touch you where you can't get to it, and I'll make sure you get an itch too.

And no, I don't know any colleagues in our small market who are falling short; we're global leaders in our field, we work all hours of the day (and night), we're engaged and we provide a first-class service. No, sorry, another correction, we provide....discounts.

I'll talk about how much margin we should be taking and how we can generate additional margin another time.

Until next month.
Jan Samyn

© Travel Magazine

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