This is specially looking at travel deals: nights away, game drives, activities etc., but you can apply the same principles to any deal.
I’m writing this because I’ve been burnt too many times. I’ve used Groupon, City Slicker( now out of business) and my mother-in-law used Daddy deals. She and I are almost obsessed with sales, discounts and saving money. Granted, as our husbands always conspiringly tell us, we’re not saving money if it means we need to spend money we wouldn’t have spent in the first place without the discount or sale.
But after having being to lunch up the East Coast in Hermanus the previous weekend, when I wanted to go on a weekend away, it became a simple choice. And as any person does these days, I looked at discount platforms for a good deal, Groupon in my case. I found a good deal, in Langebaan:West Coast of the Western Cape which is a bit warmer than the East, obviously my preference. Masada Guest House, 2 nights stay for 2 for R939.00. Excluding breakfast, but accommodating my son. Review to follow.☺️
The most important lessons I’ve learnt with these deals are:
1. Read the fine print. Read how long it’s valid for, when you need to make a booking by, does it expire on the date on the voucher or will it be expired on that date, etc.
2. Timing/availability. Before I buy anything, I go through my calendar. When will I be able to do this activity OR travel? It doesn’t work always though, sometimes it’s just too ridiculously cheap to pass and I buy it, but this is when things go wrong. Because it wasn’t planned, I will never have time to redeem the voucher and do the activity. I’ve missed holidays, restaurant deals, etc. because of this.
So before you buy, find out if you can do it before it expires.
For example, my last deal was so fun but that phone call to check availability is the crucial one that starts the cascade of events. #background creepy music…da da da da…
I had actually been looking at this deal for a while, and I’ll be in Langebaan for a week for work and I’ve thought of buying it so my husband son can join me for either the weekend before or the weekend after. A week is a long time away from them 😌.
But when it was Friday afternoon, stuck in traffic home and I’d had the longest week emotionally; I thought why not get home, pack our bags and go somewhere to forget about life for 2 days, right? Decision made at 15h00, reservations confirmed 16h20!
Decided I wanted to go to Langebaan; looked for the deal on my phone, in standstill traffic and found it; called my husband at home to convince him; called the guest house to ask for availability( someone had cancelled- Yay!!); bought groupon voucher; waited for voucher details to be sent back to me; reviewed the details and forwarded them to the guest house. And they took the longest, it took them 23 minutes to respond to my email and confirm my reservations. We arrived there at 19h00, Friday evening.
It was fun!
3. Many of the travel, attractions or night aways deals: you have to book within 7 days after buying the voucher.
The trick is: if you like the deal and you have decided when you might go. Phone them, find out if they have availability on the day/s you want and suit you best. Otherwise it’s pointless buying it.
If they do, make a provisional booking: now it’s a matter of minutes. Proceed and buy the voucher. When you get an email with the voucher number, immediately send that to the booking place. Ask for confirmation of receipt and of the reservation.
4. Sometimes, the groupon special is not actually a special, it’s actually the going price and on occasions even inflated for the advertisers percentage! Groupon, daddy deals etc, all have to get something out of the advertising. There’s nothing for mahhala( free).
So when you call to ask for availability, ask for the normal rate for those night/s as well. It would be much easier to do it directly and avoiding the middle man.
5. Sometimes they don’t show the ‘full picture’ on the groupon deal. If you find it too good to be true, do a little research before you buy. Especially if the cost is more than a few hundred rands. What I do:
a) I look through their website: rates, gallery( especially the rooms), etc. Sometimes this is still not good enough.
b) I google the place. I like booking.com- put in your dates and see how much it’ll cost you without groupon/daddy deals or whoever is offering you the deal. On occasions I still want to know more.
c) I look onto reviews. My preferred platform is Trip Advisor. Go see what people who’ve stayed at the place say about it. The reviews on the deal advert are always biased, so don’t bother looking at them.
6. Remember not to rush it. If you’re not sure, it means it’s a no to the deal! Listen to your wiser you. There’ll always be something when you’re ready or even a better deal.
Happy money saving, while doing things you enjoy!😘