Is he right or is he crazy? (1 Oct, 2018)

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Is he right or is he crazy? (1 Oct, 2018)

Postby aardvark_admin » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:30 am

This column is archived at:

You have to love Dick Smith but does he not understand how globalism works?

Would he be complaining as much if it was an Aussie company that was dominating a US market through clever use of the Internet?

And why, instead of just wingeing about it, doesn't Dick encourage Aussie moteliers to pull out of these US booking services and set up their own Aussie-only one? If they did that, the moteliers would then hold all the cards and the US-based agencies would be left high and dry when it came to booking accommodation in Australia.

Surely those who have the problem must be responsible for creating the solution.

Has Dick "lost the plot" a little on this one?

And just as importantly -- why was Dick's video taken down? Was it Google unhappy with the criticism? Was Dick a little embarrassed (on reflection)?
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Re: Is he right or is he crazy? (1 Oct, 2018)

Postby Stevesub1 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:32 am

Dick Smith is also making a nuisance of himself in OZ where he is trashing the Aldi (German) supermarket chain which are now in most major cities plus scattered through the burbs, (we have one on our island). Aldi have done wonders for bringing prices down in OZ with Woolies, Coles and the independents dropping their prices to compete big time but still making a profit. Most of Ald's non-perishable stuff comes from all over the world incl NZ. The low prices and flow on effect to the bigger chains has been really good for the consumers with significant savings at the supermarket. We dread shopping when we are back in NZ because we know we will be paying at least 50% more for our groceries - we need Aldi in NZ to sort out PaknSave, Countdown and New World.

I suspect the Dick Smiths gripe is that he dabbled in the food business in OZ and because it was all Australian based, what he produced was too expensive when compared with imported goods so his stuff never really took off.

Yes, I had a lot of respect for him in the past and helped make is electronic shops profitable, but he seems to have lost the plot recently and become a grumpy old man.
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Re: Is he right or is he crazy? (1 Oct, 2018)

Postby decibel » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:18 pm

It seems to me to be a problem of scale - the bigger you get, the bigger advantage you have over your competitors. (the rich get richer and the poor get poorer)

Having said that though, I agree with Bruce that it should be easy to set up a local booking system but the hard part is getting all locals on board.

As for Steve's comment, he is totally right - look at the outrageous cartel operated here by the big petrol companies who strangely find they can lower prices in towns where there is a Gull station !

In Carterton, petrol is cheaper than Wellington, purely because Gull has made it as far south as Masterton.
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Re: Is he right or is he crazy? (1 Oct, 2018)

Postby Muz » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:19 pm

We own a holiday park lease and can see where Dick is coming from.

Motels, hotels, holiday parks all have their own websites and each business is doing their own thing trying to convince people to come and stay with them.

One day an organisation came along and offered a free listing to each and every one of these businesses. The rationale was that people could come to one place and be presented with all the businesses in each area. They could compare each business and make the booking direct from that site. It didn't cost the customer any extra and the booking site only clipped the ticket when they made a sale (and it was a reasonable 10% commission).

Then the obvious happened, a 2nd company thought that this was obviously a wee goldmine and they duplicated everything and also took their wee cut. Then there was a 3rd company, then a 4th and now we get approached weekly by more hopefuls.

Meanwhile a large proportion of our commissions get spent on adwords, tv commercials and everything else and each business finds that they are slipping further and further down the search engines.

Then we get the news "hey we are improving our technology, our websites, increasing our staff numbers and doing such a great job of stealing your leads that we now need 15% commission." They also made the proviso that if we offered a cheaper deal than what they advertised then we'd be removed from their site.

Six months ago we got told "hey we need more money from you. It's still 15% but we'll now add gst on top (instead of inclusive as it was before) and we'll also add 3% for credit card fees. But hey, our technology is fantastic and have you seen our great adverts on TV?"

People are finally starting to wake up and see how much they are being screwed but are worried that if they pull out then all the other businesses will get their customers.

There has been a great deal of discussion and the only way to stop them was for everyone to stop using them. Of course that's not going to happen.

Then along came the Dick Smith video and he was thinking outside the square by appealing to the customer to do what the businesses couldn't do. Dick was trying to get customers to change their focus and do the actual booking through each individual business. Apparently he's succeeded in that aussie businesses have noticed a significant increase in business coming via their own websites now (25% I think.)

We only subscribe to one of these booking sites and although we are not supposed to, we added 10% to everything that is booked via the site after their latest commission changes, so if people are still too lazy to look around then they'll pay a wee bit more than if they did their own research.

Dicks video has attracted a lot of attention by our own tourism organisations, so I think that he'd be pretty pleased with himself at the moment. If his video has disappeared then I think there's something shifty going on.
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