Daily Deals
By now everyone has heard of Groupon, and likely Team Buy, Good News, Grooster, Hot Deals Live and maybe Living Social as well as some of the other ‘daily deal’ companies that have popped up.  All of these sites offer a deal everyday usually at least 50% off of a product or service.  I began following all of the deal sites both from a personal and a business point of view.  I get a daily email from just about every ‘deal maker’ out there and have purchased from 4 different ones.  I wanted to see how easy the purchase and redemption processes are for the consumer.  I also wanted to see how the systems worked from the ‘providers’ point of view to determine whether or not, and what type of offer, would be a good fit for our golf course clients.

My Experience
Overall my experiences have been positive.  All of the four sites I have used have a fairly simple sign up, purchase and print process.  In most cases your credit card is charged once the deal ‘is on’ or has enough participants to make it valid and you are sent an automatic email to let you know your coupon can be printed.  If you print and lose your coupon before redemption that is OK you can just go back and print another.  All of the coupons are bar coded so the service provider can mark it as redeemed as soon as it is used. We have used coupons at The Corner Suite Bistro Deluxe, Bellagio, Prestons, The Reef and Crime Lab and have had no issues with redemption.  We have several more printed out and ready to use.  The expiry dates have typically been between 4 and 6 months from date of purchase so ample time for us to dine around. It all seemed like a great concept that was well executed but for the last few weeks the deals have become more and more obscure (picture frames, teeth whitening, art, pole dancing and lawn maintenance) making me wonder if the ‘providers’ are running dry.

Golf Course Usage
I have investigated the use of this type of promotion for a few of our golf course clients with 3 different ‘daily deal’ companies.  The challenge for golf is the high cost of a round (when compared to a typical meal) and the percentage that the ‘deal’ company keeps.  Given that most deals require a least a 50% discount,  a $100 green fee is reduced to $50.  The percentage fee (which ranges from 20% up to 50%) is then deducted from the $50. In the case of many golf courses the amount remaining will not cover the maintenance cost of one round of golf.  The key is to work with a ‘daily deal’ company that can give you the biggest advertising reach and greatest ‘bang for your buck’ to ensure that the revenues you are giving up are giving you the greatest marketing value in return.  Right now Groupon has the biggest follower base and largest reach.

Daily Deal Companies
For a list of the companies that provide deals in your area you can now visit http://dealpage.ca that collects all of the deals from 14 active sites in 11 different cities (Vancouver included) and posts them all in one place.  There are some great deals out there for all kinds of services and if you like to eat out, like us, some of them are a ‘no brainer’.  Just be careful to read the fine print and check the expiry date before purchasing.