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#344190 - 07/09/09 01:52 PM Pros/Cons of the HOT Discount Card
HOT_Card Offline
While a recent post on the HOT Discount Card has now been moved to the Specials area (I assume because the initial post was for specific offers), I believe the ensuing discussion that took place on the "value" of the HOT discount card for potential travellers should be an open discussion for anyone to contribute their views and experiences on - just as other businesses, whether they be hotels, restaurants, stores or service providers, can be recommended or otherwise on this forum. I am therefore opening this thread with that thought in mind.

The HOT Discount Card is a development of the coupons that previously featured in the HOT Guide (which we also produce) and operates under the same premise as any other discount card/club/store. etc. That by joining together each member can benefit from greater savings than they would individually.

Take for example the case of Costco. By actively joining Costco, its members are confirming their intention (it is only an intention at this point as they are under no obligation to buy) to consider the products that Costco sells. Costco in turn, with a high volume of POTENTIAL customers, can negotiate with suppliers and manufacturer to achieve the lowest price, and so deliver on their promise to the customer who continue to be members and shop at Costco over the years. And the manufacturer/supplier, by selling to Costco in high volume, benefit from increased market share and potentially reduced costs (more efficient production, lower distribution costs, etc.).

A local here in Belize, may choose to regularly shop in a particular store, frequent a particular restaurant or fly with a certain airline, and in return that business may choose to reward their regular custom and loyalty, in the form of say a cash discount, a free drink with their meal or some other means. A visitor, whether they are here for a few days, or visit several times a year, does not have the opportunity of building such a relationship. But by becoming a member of the HOT Card, they COLLECTIVELY bring increased business to the companies involved, who in turn choose to reward that increase in business with lower prices and special offers. A win-win situation.

Does this penalize the single traveller? Certainly not, if anything they stand to gain more. Say a family/group of 6 are looking to take a trip to Lamanai, they can probably get a deal with the tour operator because there are 6 of them. The single traveller does not carry this negotiating clout and will probably have to pay the advertised price. But as a member of the HOT Discount card, the discount has already been negotiated for them and is guaranteed. Of course with some of the cheap drink offers you are encouraged to drink "for two" but you are on holiday after all!!

All the businesses participating have signed agreements for the offers they are making (one of the advantages of working in a small community I guess!) so there is no confusion on the part of the business owner, their staff or the cardmember. They also agree that the discount is as good or better than they are advertising anywhere else.

At the end of the day whether the card is of value is determined simply by whether you intend to purchase from the businesses involved. Your don't join Costco and then do your all your shopping at Target!

Edited by HOT_Card (07/09/09 01:55 PM)
Belize Discounts to Save You Money

#344193 - 07/09/09 01:57 PM Re: Pros/Cons of the HOT Discount Card [Re: HOT_Card]
Peter Jones Offline
I was a little surprised that when I tried to post to that "Specials" thread I was not allowed to.

I regret to say that I view this card much the same way that I viewed Green Shield stamps when they were all over the place in Britain a couple of decades ago. Shall we say I'm not convinced of their worth?

#344195 - 07/09/09 02:01 PM Re: Pros/Cons of the HOT Discount Card [Re: Peter Jones]
HOT_Card Offline
I remember saving these as kid. My dad would get them with the purchase of petrol and as he couldn't be bothered sticking them all in the books would give them to me. They had a great range of toys!!!!
Belize Discounts to Save You Money

#344197 - 07/09/09 02:04 PM Re: Pros/Cons of the HOT Discount Card [Re: Peter Jones]
Amanda Syme Offline
I think the Hot Discount Card is a great idea and if I was a visitor I would certainly investigate the savings and discounts available. EVERYBODY loves a deal, a little discount, a perceived savings.

My business didn't advertise with the Hot Discount Card simply because it isn't practical for our industry - but if I were in retail, or owned a restaurant/bar or dive shop I would be all over it.

#344206 - 07/09/09 02:36 PM Re: Pros/Cons of the HOT Discount Card [Re: Amanda Syme]
deadserious Offline
As I said previously..

I don't know how much they are asking to purchase one of those cards, but here in the US there is a similar "card" called the Entertainment Book. It's like $50 or so and gives discounts on the local area. Schools often use them as fund raisers. However, when I worked in the hotel business, the Entertainment Book would consistently advertise a discount at our hotel that we didn't offer. We would sometimes accept it anyway if occupancy was really low, but it irritated us to no end.

Not saying that the Hot card is anything like that, but I am always very skeptical of such offers.

And to add...

My wife almost always ends up buying one of those Entertainment Books under the guise of supporting our local schools. In every time she has purchased one, we never used it once. As such, I usually find deals like this a waste of money. Given the fact that you can negotiate the same deals with many of the same businesses (as per Tim), the value seems very limited.

Regardless, for the traveler who remembers to bring their card with them everywhere, and remembers to present the card, and happens to be at a location that accepts the card, and is too timid to ask for a discount themselves, this is probably a good deal.
Now back to your regularly scheduled drivel...

#344213 - 07/09/09 02:56 PM Re: Pros/Cons of the HOT Discount Card [Re: deadserious]
SimonB Offline
"However, when I worked in the hotel business, the Entertainment Book would consistently advertise a discount at our hotel that we didn't offer."

As the business owners specify their discount (and can update online) that would not apply in this case.

#344215 - 07/09/09 03:12 PM Re: Pros/Cons of the HOT Discount Card [Re: SimonB]
Amanda Syme Offline
I travel with a family of 5 and sometimes 12 when we add grandparents etc into the mix. With a group of that size these discount coupons can become very valuable and provide great savings.

Yes,you have to remember to carry the card and also tell your server or the teller about it before you begin enjoying the services or goods - but that really isn't a big deal.

Maybe the Hot Card could provide a lanyard with the card attached so folks can just hang it around their necks on display! Ohhh and the lanyard could advertise my business! Cool, I'm gonna call Phil and Marie right now.

#344217 - 07/09/09 03:14 PM Re: Pros/Cons of the HOT Discount Card [Re: SimonB]
deadserious Offline
Originally Posted By: SimonB
"However, when I worked in the hotel business, the Entertainment Book would consistently advertise a discount at our hotel that we didn't offer."

As the business owners specify their discount (and can update online) that would not apply in this case.

I wasn't saying that the Hot card was as disreputable as the Entertainment Book, only explaining why such cards have such bad reputations.

Entertainment Book's reputation will sully that of the Hot card for those who know about Entertainment's reputation.
Now back to your regularly scheduled drivel...

#344221 - 07/09/09 03:54 PM Re: Pros/Cons of the HOT Discount Card [Re: deadserious]
Gela Offline
Oh Simon, HotCard, sorry to have to disagree with you but I have to as a single traveler. I studied this card to see if it would be something I could use enough to make it actually pay for itself.

Hotels: already have my hotel arranged, but I think since I travel off-season mostly, I could probably get a very good discount working with a hotel directly (as I have in the past). I don’t see anything that says that the HotCard would give you the best deal at any of these Hotels.

Restaurants: OK, 10% off, well maybe that’s $3 for me. Bars: Free drink with purchase of food. (Can’t use the purchase 2 lunch/dinners get ˝ off appetizer or buy 1 dinner get the 2nd half off, etc.). As I get older, drinking noon and night (and an occasional morning) is not my theme anymore. There’s enough entertainment without me being part of it.

Tours: Book 2 full day tours and get a ˝ day tour free. Well, even if my budget and vacation time allowed for that (and you need to factor in which days the tours go out, and weather issues), I wouldn’t just stick to 1 Tour Company. I would want to “spread the wealth” and support many businesses.

Lagniappe Provisioning (you know I’ve used you several times): free delivery for orders over $500. Well, as a single traveler that’s usually my budget for the whole visit for food and drink. Can't really take advantage of that as a single traveler.

So, as a single traveler, I do not feel this card is worth it for me. If I traveled with someone, I certain would consider it. As I suggested, offer the single traveler an equivalent coupon. Example: Buy 1 dinner full price get the 2nd dinner ˝ off OR 25% off a single dinner.

Some of the businesses who have offers in the HotCard are not familiar to me, so this card, even though I will not be purchasing it, has give me some recommendations on who to check out when I visit in 2 weeks.

Oh, and I am a Costco member and purchase certainly things (including gas)which are in sizes suitable to my way of living. Oh, and I also shop at Target. And that’s the point – choices.

This is of course my opinion and experience.

Edited by Gela (07/09/09 06:01 PM)
Edit Reason: corrected note directions from Simon to HotCard - sorry for that
Gela's AC Motto: "All Roads Used to Lead to BC's" frown

#344235 - 07/09/09 05:03 PM Re: Pros/Cons of the HOT Discount Card [Re: Gela]
colomojo Offline
When purchasing any kind of discount card/book/membership one has to be committed to using it. Personally I really like most of the ones I have but I also use them to my advantage. (My Gold C book that costs $10 annually has paid for itself many times over) It would be advantageous however for the single traveler to receive a benefit as well. Hopefully the participating merchants will add a "single purchase feature" so everyone can enjoy the HOT CARD.
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