View Full Version : Buying Vouchers for Trial Lessons
After reading some other threads it seems people aren't aware that it is often cheaper to buy a voucher for a trial lesson direct from a flying school - or you may get a longer time for your money - rather than buying through a 3rd party 'adventure' website.
If you are buying the voucher as a gift, may places will supply a card or certificate which you can give as the present.
The downside is you can't 'shop around' with the voucher but if you do a little research first you should find a good place to fly - there are lots of them.
It is a good idea to pay by credit card, just in case.
From a school's point of view, they receive less money from the actual voucher, so either have to make the flight shorter or accept a cut in any profit, or even a loss.
However, they don't have to spend any money on marketing, and the voucher company will reach a much wider market since the same company is probably offering vouchers for flying lessons, track days, balloon flights and all sorts of other "experience days".
I think schools generally prefer selling their own vouchers, but clubs generally work on word of mouth, or having a good restaurant or a good airfield to fly into. The average guy on the street is probably completely unaware that he could learn to fly just down the road.
From a school's point of view, they receive less money from the actual
I discovered the same thing about booking hotels/B&B through internet sites. I phoned one B&B directly as I had a query and was told they get about 70-80% of the money, but they don't get it until much later - so the website owners had the benefit of the deposit for quite a few months.
7th Jul 2012, 21:25
There is no way your marketing should be 10-20% of your hourly rate unless your Oxford aviation.
The whole thing is a bloody con both for the punter and the flying schools.
The whole thing is a bloody con both for the punter and the flying schools
Maybe a little harsh, but basically true i think.
There is no way your marketing should be 10-20% of your hourly rate
Indeed, we both know what kind of margins flying schools typically have to get by on. That is however pretty much what the big, national voucher sellers want. Some want it all as discount, others will mark up a price with a less discount. If they were a major proportion of the business, then it would be financially difficult to do them. But it would, at least short term, be unwise to ditch them, as they would just trot along to your nearest competitor and get them to do it.
When marketing a flying club's own direct sell vouchers, it's an effort to get above them (virgin, buyagift, adventure001, intotheblue, etc) on google. We can do it with a specific geographical location, but it takes work and we won't do paid ads to get at the top sponsored listings.
8th Jul 2012, 17:16
Why worry about your competitor loosing money or flying with out making any?
Its not as if any of them convert to a full PPL.
If all the schools told them to piss off that would be the end of it
You're probably right, but it would just pain me to send any business their way. We don't lose money on them, but we certainly don't make much either. They do however keep the instructors busier, we also try and upsell them all to something else.
That's so true, the conversion rate of internet vouchers is (in my experience) much less than for our own. I can only remember two in the last 10 years or so.
Totally agree with you there, but the problem would of course be getting ALLthe schools to do it.
8th Jul 2012, 22:02
Some years ago as the recipient of one of these "gift" vouchers bought through a specialist company, my son found that had he bought direct from the local club/flying school, he could have got it at half the price. For a little more added to the face value of the voucher, he managed to get double the time - and in a bigger aircraft.
8th Jul 2012, 22:05
Thats never going to happen getting all the schools to do it if your up front.
You could stop doing them and then say to a few folk that you think its funny that xxx school is burning engine hours for nothing. It will soon get back to them.
I can understand about wanting to keep instructors in the air but in general i think these vouchers do more harm than good to the industry. People are walking away from buying trial lessons purely because of bad publicity and that includes punters that would have taken your own vouchers.
8th Jul 2012, 22:20
We accept vouchers from a well known company. We have no problems making a buck. We have no point of sale, advertising costs. We have customers we could never have reached if we had to pay for the sort of exposure we get from that company.
An advert in a local newspaper probably costs us four hours flying to fly back into profit.
Together with our own voucher sales which usually come from our internet site or word of mouth from previous sales, i am more than satisfied.
These vouchers help to pay our fixed costs. The profit comes from our own vouchers or aircraft rental.
9th Jul 2012, 12:23
I don't think there is any comparison between hotel booking internet sites and flying schools. I have often phoned hotels and tried to deal directly and found that a) they are more expensive direct and b) they don't want to deal with me direct.