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When customers don't gain from offers!

I don't understand why companies plan and execute offers that makes no sense for a customer to buy. Came across two examples recently. There are many, but lazy to recollect them for this post. Take the example of Yatra.com which has tied-up with ailing national carrier, Air India to offer "Free Companion offer". Click here to see the details of the offer.

I read each line on that webpage and thought to myself that it was a good offer worth exploring. So I looked at Air India prices, which was around 20% costlier, than the lowest far in that sector. But if I could save on one ticket, I would still end up paying less than what the lowest fare is.

I called up Yatra.com call centre and asked them what would be the total ticket price if I have to avail this offer. It was then a very patient Yatra.com executive explained that the offer is only on 'FULL FARES' and what we see on their website are discounted fares. And she advised the scheme is not worth opting for as the total ticket price would be much higher than other options.

Nevertheless I requested her what's the price. There came the shocker: Air India's full economy fare on the sector I was searching was more than double that of what is shown in Yatra.com. Since taxes are not part of the offer, I would end up paying nearly twice of what I would pay for the lowest fare.

If you look from any perspective, this offer is a clear no-win for customers but it makes me wonder why would two companies - Yatra.com and Air India - would waste their and my time to devise a the "Free Companion offer" as at the end of the day I don't have a positive opinion of both the companies. Is it not Marketing 101 that one needs to keep the offer simple with no hidden games.

The point is that why can't they add two lines in the offer which says the offer is applicable on full fares, and what is shown in search results are not full fares. There was no search option to find what the full fare is.

Similarly, makemytrip.com ran an offer of one ticket free for one ticket booked. Apart from frequent travelers  or at least someone who is making two round trips in a month- the offer is tough to claim! Are they intentionally targeting such frequent travellers or it is just a ploy to attract eyeballs?

(btw, between Yatra, Makemytrip and Cleartrip, I found Cleartrip offering the cheapest international fare for the same flights though the fare difference is not much. If one is looking to save few hundreds in a ticket spend of Rs 60,000, then its a gain)

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