Price Seeker detects Smart, Atrápalo's new loyalty program

Revenue 18/08/2023
Let's pull the string a bit. The alerts, fittingly said, went off when Price Seeker detected a series of unexpected price inconsistencies on Atrápalo, causing significant discrepancies between the price offered by this channel and the official website. Our tool was extracting and displaying the price without knowing that, in many cases, the Smart discount was being applied, leading to significant disparities with the direct channel.

Price Seeker now extracts the cheapest price

Already aware of Atrápalo's new program, it is important to know that our Price Seeker price intelligence platform already captures the cheapest price offered by the OTA, whether or not the hotel is included in the Smart program during those dates.

Additionally, we are working to soon indicate if that price includes the Smart discount and, if so, also display the percentage of difference. In other words, the price we capture is the cheapest that the user can end up paying if they register for the program. If not, they will pay more, but never less than the price shown on our platform.

From retail to travel

E-commerce, essentially, involves buying and selling goods and services using the Internet. According to this generic definition, online room reservations, regardless of the channel used, would fall within what is commonly known as e-commerce.

On more than one occasion, we have mentioned that the hotel sector has much to learn and import from others, such as the audiovisual entertainment industry or marketplaces. Leveraging the vast volume of data generated by their users through browsing habits, queries, and acquisitions, these players excel in offering hyper-personalized experiences and deploying aggressive and effective loyalty mechanisms that help retain customers, ensuring future purchases.

Well, it seems that some are already taking note of this modus operandi. This is the case with the new Atrápalo loyalty program. As we have already mentioned, the whistle-blower responsible for alerting us to its existence has been none other than Price Seeker, our hotel price intelligence platform.

What is Smart?

To make sure you understand what it entails, let's establish a brief parallel with Amazon Prime. You may be familiar with it, but if not, let us remind you how it works. Amazon users have access to the Prime subscription, involving an annual fee (currently at 49.90€, though initially, it was half this cost) in exchange for several benefits:
  • Fast and free shipping on a wide selection of products
  • Free access to Prime Video
  • Free access to Prime Reading
  • Free access to Prime Music
  • Prime Day: an exclusive day of offers for Amazon Prime customers
  • Unlimited storage on Amazon Photos
Privileges that not only translate into revenues from the subscription fee, but ultimately invite the consumer to make repetitive purchases on the Amazon marketplace and repeatedly use its complementary services. But most importantly, once the need is created and the customer is caught in their networks, the latter is, in a way, at the mercy of their commercial interests.

Atrápalo's Smart is based on this annual subscription model, and even the cost (50€ per year) bears a suspicious resemblance to Amazon's. In exchange for that amount, the user "can buy with them unlimitedly, benefiting from exclusive discounts during the subscription period" on certain products offered by the OTA and identified with the "Smart" label, such as flights, hotels, flight + hotel.

Atrápalo has been clever in crafting this loyalty program because its legal basis does not specify which products will have the Smart label or the amount of the discount. Therefore, everything indicates that its strategy is designed, on the one hand, to attract repeat customers and, on the other hand, to promote the products they are most interested in selling.

How much are the discounts with Atrápalo's Smart?

This is the million-dollar question, and to answer as accurately as possible, the product being booked and the value of the reservation must be considered because the discount range is very broad.

In the example shown below, a search for Malaga in August, the discounts applied to different hotels range between 6% and 12%. However, for flights and trains, it can go up to 30%.
The subscription to the Smart program is carried out during the same purchasing process, and for future purchases, logging in will be necessary to benefit from the associated discounts. This is similar to the locked rates of loyalty clubs implemented by certain hotels, which are always displayed and can be selected, but when it comes time to complete the reservation, joining the club is necessary to enjoy the best price.
This is how they describe the program on their website:

"The Smart subscription is a new annual subscription service offered by Atrápalo to buy Flights, Hotels, and Flight+Hotel with exclusive discounts for SMART customers. The subscription is contracted simultaneously with the purchase of a flight, train, or hotel. When you buy, we offer you the option to subscribe to Smart and start enjoying exclusive discounts on Flights, Hotels, and Flight+Hotel. By subscribing to our Smart program, you benefit from exclusive discounts on the prices of our flights, trains, and hotels for 12 months. In this way, you can buy with us unlimitedly, benefiting from these discounts during the subscription period."

And here you can check the general terms and conditions of the subscription.