How we got a steal !!
Goa as a destination was frozen on 14th September. Yup thats early. But then planning early is a trait which runs in our blood given the nature of the beast … err our business. The choice went down to wire with Goa regulars being the spoilers. They complained :
- March mid to April (our timeline for annual outing) is bad timing courtesy the weather
- No shacks
Anyways the powers to be, including the one who should not be named pushed the paper (read booth capturing), and Goa it was !!
Shoestring budget - the ghost raises its head
Whenever we decide destination, we ensure the place has reasonably priced hotels. This was one of the reasons for Goa making the grade. Each time we finalise a destination - the analytics guys, Operation Research folks, travel enthusiasts just jump to ensure we get the maximum ■■■■ for the buck. Any extra spend means lower hikes for them. Yes our management is Shylock - they extract their pound of flesh !!
But there were enough grave diggers around. Goa as a destination is insufficient condition (expect question in Problem Solving on this) . It needs to be South or North Goa. In the meanwhile, the saner ones focused on travel cost. With all the tolls and given the distance, Volvo was burning a hole in the pocket. So train it had to be … but timings were not aligned. And then Eureka moment happened !! Our Archimedes almost but ran ■■■■■ leaving his lunch plate to validate it !!
Air economical than bus - Surprise suprise
Archimedes had figured out that it should cost airlines no more than 80,000 an hour and should be a more economical solution. Viola it was !! Having tasted blood … he fell for trap of Dil Maange More and Airline bosses rewarded us with a sale in October first week. Our cost was 65% of what a bus would have costed us !!
That we did not have a hotel booking was a minor hiccup !! We could not let the true good to be true air deal go. More so because it was adding to our hotel budget.
Great insight and Luck got us the hotel deal
With air travel in place, we were gunning for the moon. We wanted to be staying by the sea - which would either be shacks in North Goa or one of the plush South Goa hotels. While booking air tickets, the team googled all possible events which were (most likely) to happen in Goa in March / April along with contacting Goa tourism, so that our dates do not clash with high demand scenarios. They figured out 25-28 March as the possible lean period.
We hit the road and got a rude shock on costs. Dejected reality check set in and compromise hotels were sought. Alcohol in blood stream is not always bad. Over a monthly party we figure out that with December round the corner, sales guys will be on a high with hotels sold out and the high made them quote high rates.
We gambled and suspended hotel booking exercise believing that in January, especially after demonetisation, the sales will be down and we may be able to negotiate rates. In January last week we draw a list of 32 hotels and reach out to them. The rates were surely lower but still beyond our budget. We were about to finalise a not so bad one when Holiday Inn stepped in and offered us rates, which we believe they had never done to anyone else. It is often that folks take pity at us (including our landlord) and give us deals because as an organization eLitmus is making a difference to the country. So power to Holiday Inn and God bless them for making that huge concession.
Goa here we come !!