Today, Priceline.com launched a new TV ad campaign featuring a new Shatner side-kick known as "Big Deal." Not only is the Big Deal big, but he also appears to have a deep understanding of hotel revenue management (in addition to some really nice tats.)
In the spot, Shatner calls in Big Deal to help negotiate with a hapless front desk clerk who initially refuses the $65 price Shatner suggests. Big Deal intones "is it wise to allow a perishable item to spoil?" Shatner follows with "Is it wise to leave a room empty" to which Big Deal adds "The additional revenue easily covers operating costs." Shatner closes the negotiation with "$65 is better than no dollars." As you would expect, the clerk relents.
A rather high-brow discussion (lead by a decidedly low-brow, knuckle-cracking, meat head, no less) of the principles on which Priceline operates is an interesting advertising ploy. Educating consumers of the intricacies of the model is a first - some hoteliers are still trying to figure it out, let alone consumers. But it may expand the market if more consumers can get comfortable with how Priceline actually gets such good pricing.
And how will hoteliers react? Given the revenue they are seeing from Priceline these days, they will probably just take a deep breath and keep offering those $65 rates...
Watch the ad: