In 2010, the amazing phenomenon of GroupOn made its appearance in e-mail inboxes nationwide changing the way people shopped. It seemed like the ultimate win-win for businesses and consumers alike.
Six years on, we feel the disadvantages of offering a great deal outweigh the advantages… especially to our customers.
In the early days of GroupOn, there was only one deal offered in each e-mail and it offered businesses huge exposure. In our first GroupOn promotion, we sold nearly 2,000 tandem skydive gift certificates in one weekend! As you can imagine, we loved it. We soon discovered that with the pros came many cons.
With higher volume comes increased maintenance costs. Maintenance in the aviation and skydiving industries is very expensive. The majority of our now slimmer profit margins were being dedicated to maintaining our equipment and paying our staff, but leaving little room for the facilities upgrades that we like to make each year.
Furthermore, as more skydiving competitors entered the market (as a result of opening and immediately selling GroupOn certificates), we began to see price wars begin not just in the Charlotte skydiving region but in regions all over the United States. The result was deeper discounts – still a win for consumers, but not a win for business owners working tireless hours for half the price.
During our last GroupOn promotion a few years ago, we observed that the days of selling high volume in three days were now long over. To sell even 25% of what we used to sell would take months of promotion on GroupOn thus eliminating any possibility of selling our product at the price that made sense. Essentially, we were destroying our own market price as our guests were waiting for the GroupOn price to be on offer at the end of the year.
Though our last GroupOn promotion was still reasonably successful, the management team at Skydive Carolina sat down to discuss the issue and decided that it no longer aligned with our values of ensuring the very best experience for our guests.
Offering deep discounting meant that we couldn’t continue to invest in improvements and maintain the best possible customer service. Our customer service started to slip as we were having to add more reservations per hour to accommodate the demand and this just resulted in long wait times only frustrating our customers further.
As an organization, our goal isn’t to offer the best skydiving experience in the Carolinas, but to offer the best skydiving experience in the world. To deliver this objective comes at a cost.
It was clear that the value of higher volume despite a better price for our customers was detracting from our customer’s experience. The decision to discontinue GroupOn became apparent.
It was a tough decision to get off the GroupOn “gravy train” because there are a couple of skydiving centers in our region that still offer GroupOn meaning that their prices are less than ours. We were worried that we’d lose market share or even our business to other competitors. We elected that we had to change our course of direction and hope that the tens of thousands of loyal customers we’ve served from all over the Carolinas would continue to support us.
We’re proud (and relieved) to say they have. Though we’re not the least expensive skydiving operation, we feel confident that we are delivering the best experience and giving our guests the best value for their money. This value is seen in the aircraft we fly, the altitude we jump from and the people we hire. We hire the most professional people in the industry who are highly experienced, observe and respect our stringent safety guidelines and who also have great personalities to ensure our guests have the very best experience.
Skydive Carolina is well known in the skydiving industry for having the best customer service and safety culture. It’s this reputation that has driven our growth for 30 years and we promise to continue these initiatives.
Since discontinuing daily deals, we’ve made huge improvements including the addition of a new aircraft (we now have a fleet of three), upgrades to our already first class facility, improved our food amenities, improved our retail store and observation areas. We hope you’ll experience the Skydive Carolina difference firsthand!
To all the Carolina skydivers – thank you for your continued support!
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