Ever read Freakonomics? There’s a great chapter on how internet-accessible information drove down insurance premiums massively. The same story can be found in many places – but some companies are apparently completely oblivious to this.
Which is the specific company that triggered this blog post? Disney – Disneyland Paris, to be exact.
On visiting their site, I immediately got redirected to the Belgian version of their website. While my level of Dutch is good enough to deal with this, I do prefer English just for speed of reading so I switched to the UK website. I looked up 5 nights in a specific hotel, 2 adults, 1 five-year-old child, starting August 1st. The resulting price – £1338. Expensive, but about what you would expect from Disney. For comparison, the currency converter at OANDA converts this at today’s rate to €1620.70.
Now, having lived in Belgium for some time, and being acutely aware of how expensive it is, I decided to check out the same deal from the Belgian website. Same people, same date, same duration. The result this time? A jaw-dropping €2306. Since this doesn’t include transport, it would be cheaper for me to drive to the UK, turn around, drive to Paris and have the holiday than just drive 3 hours south and have the same exact holiday. What would Al Gore say about this carbon impact?
This goes completely against the concept that people won’t pay 10 for something when information is freely and easily available that indicates they should be paying 5. It does take into account the inherent laziness of some people, and the fact that some people are unaware of this information. For people who are aware of this info, and are willing to do something about it (i.e. me) it’s a complete insult. It’s also a great incentive to not go to Disney.
Remember, the democratization of information the web has brought doesn’t mean anything if you don’t vote! In the meantime, let’s call this a fail for Disney.