Wednesday, 29 January 2014

"Facebook 'praise' for term-time discounts sparks campaign"

From the BBC:

With about 250 friends on Facebook, childless Paul Cookson did not expect "praise" he posted to have much impact. He wrote that he was "delighted" to be offered "discounts" by tour operators who reduced their prices outside school holidays and other peak times.

A few friends agreed, and followed his request to "share this post if you have also taken advantage of term-time discounts". It soon went viral, and more than 143,000 people have shared it so far.

"It's more fun behaving like a big kid when there are no actual kids watching!"

Supporters also began signing an online petition calling for the government to recognise the industry's achievements in the New Year Honours List and this has now gone far beyond the 100,000 signatures needed for a possible debate in Parliament.

Mr Cookson's initial post, entitled "In praise of term-time discounts", noted that non-parents were "rewarded" for doing the right thing and not taking their holidays during the busy school holidays. It came about after he got a great deal on a holiday for him and his long term girlfriend, with whom he has no children.

"Term-time discounts and no screaming kids? What's not to like?"

He told the BBC he was stunned by the response on Facebook, with many people encouraging him to "carry it on and fight". So the 41-year-old set up a Facebook group called Term Time Discounts, in which many other childless people - young and old alike - have shared examples of great value getaways.

One of the group's members posted a link to the e-petition, which is entitled: "Thank holiday companies for giving us cheap breaks during off-season!"


Bayard said...

"the National Union of Teachers warned letting schools set different term dates would cause "chaos" for families booking holidays and would allow holiday companies to extend their premium rate periods"

Predictable bollocks from the NUT. I suppose they haven't noticed the lack of chaos in the private sector, where schools set their own term dates.

Dinero said...

The whole idea that tour operatorss "put up" prices in the school holidays is the product of a basic misunderstanding of how commerce works.

No one "puts up" prices . A person starts high and then starts discounting that price based on market conditions untill they get a buyer.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B: "where schools set their own term dates"

Firstly, private schools near each other co-ordinate between themselves. A couple of phone calls and job done.

Secondly, that is why private schools give preference to applicants who already have an older sibling at the school - if all kids from one family go to the same school, then this whole "holiday co-ordinating" issue solves itself.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Din, yes, that's a good way of looking at it, and that was the point of the post.

[Although it comes to the same thing if you start low and keep hiking your prices until you are down to 'just enough buyers'. It's called 'market clearing price'].

Dinero said...

OK joking, satire , aside how do you think Tour operators actually come up with the different prices across the year

Mark Wadsworth said...

Din, I'm not joking, your top-down explanation makes as much sense as the bottom-up one.

It's a bit of both*. It's just the usual rent-setting process.

* On some flights, the last-minute seats are really cheap, on other flights, the late bookers get charged much higher prices. I've never managed to work out why.

Dinero said...

Oh a misunderstanding -
The satiracle joke I was refering to was the the actual post "facebook praise for term time discounts capaign."

Mark Wadsworth said...

Din, oh you mean the post?

The point of the post was nothing to do with holidays, it was to do with losers whining louder than the winners, as with most things in economics.

It's like people in London complaining that public transport is too expensive and too crowded.

Clearly, the overcrowding suggests that the prices are too low. I appear to be the only one saying an annual travelcard is f-ing good value and I am prepared to put with the overcrowding if it saves me a couple of thousand pounds a year (i.e. what the market clearing price or profit maximising price would be).

Dinero said...

yes the very cheap "standby flight" ticket was a thing is the eighties. don't hear much about it now.

Dinero said...

well I thought the same about the congestion charge. If the congestion was too much for drivers then why are they driving in it. Same for the public transport. The ticket price and the crowding is a trade off.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Din, the congestion charge is another good example.

No private individual needs a car in the daytime in London, and parking costs you £20 or so, so £8 for being able to drive around is cheap compared to that.

Bayard said...

"A couple of phone calls and job done."

If the NUT is anything to go by, this is beyond the capabilities of state schools. They seem unable to grasp the concept that although having staggered term times within a community is not a good idea, doing the same thing across the country is.

Mind you , the whole idea of long summer holidays is an anachronism and dates from the time when everyone was at home to help with the harvest, i.e. from before the industrial revolution.

Kj said...

B: funny thing, we have even more remnants of that, an autumn week holiday with the common name "potato holiday", because it was when everyone used to slave out their kids for potato pickin´.

Derek said...

Scotland has that too. Although the last time potatoes were picked by hand would have been during the 1980s

The Stigler said...

There's lots of ways to save money on holidays with kids. We've got up on a June saturday morning, realised it's nice out and booked a hotel for the night and had a weekend down at the seaside.

I've looked at doing Provence for a week at half-term, which is like British summer weather and it's less than £100 for the crossing, a few hundred for tolls and petrol and then £500 to rent a caravan.

Bayard said...

Can anyone think of a good reason why shortening the summer holiday by three weeks, making the half terms two weeks instead of one and staggering the half-term and term times wouldn't benefit everyone, including the holiday industry?

View from the Solent said...

I'm surprised that The Mash hasn't reported a facebook rant about rail fares during morning rush hour being more expensive than those later in the day.

The Stigler said...


Nope, I'd much rather have two weeks off in say, end of May/early June and holiday in the South of France/northern Italy rather than mid-France. It might cost me a bit more in petrol or tolls, but I'd save around £1200 on the accomodation.

What's always pissed me off is how hot they get about even taking the last day off, when kids do nothing of any educational value on that day.