Spanish Travel Site REALLY Lets You Name Your Own Price

Yesterday, I came across the gutsiest campaign I think I’ve ever seen.  It’s from a travel booking website in Spain called Atrapalo (“Trap It”).  The company has gained attention through other successful viral web campaigns, but this one beats them all.  It’s seems risky at first glance, but it has the potential for huge payoffs in generating awareness, excitement, and brand personality.

The campaign is called “El Trato,” or “The Deal.”  You pick a hotel, flight, or vacation package; then pay whatever you decide the vacation was worth to you when you return from it. 

A bit is lost in translation, but here’s the website’s pitch:

“Go on vacation and pay what you want.  Leave, and when you get back, we’ll talk.  If you’ve liked it, pay us what you consider fair.  If you haven’t enjoyed it, don’t pay us anything.  Do you accept the deal?

We think that the large majority of people are honest . . . Furthermore, it seems unbelievable to us that there are so many marvelous tourist destinations that, if nobody does anything about it, will stay vacant and unoccupied during this month of July.  And, we’re honest, we need to sell.  We think, therefore, that this deal benefits everybody.  Do you accept the deal?” 

In the fine print, they mention that there is no minimum price and no hidden fees.  They assure that the vacations are quality experiences because they know if they don’t deliver, you won’t pay. 

It seems too good to be true, but if you think about it, it makes perfect marketing sense.  Atrapalo could have gone the safe route and simply offered big discounts through the normal sales process but instead woke people up with an idea that makes us pay attention.

Travel referral websites are notorious for their fierce competition and lack of brand loyalty—people take the cheapest deal no matter where it is—but Atrapalo has managed to stand out from the crowd as the company that will get you the best deal, no matter what.  Now maybe next time, consumers will go to Atrapalo first. 

I think that the lesson here is to be fearless.  If you want results, you need to take a risk.  Rather than spending tons of money on multiple traditional, run-of-the-mill campaigns, take one big plunge and show consumers that you want their business and aren’t afraid to get it.  Word-of-mouth and viral marketing only work when you give people something great to talk about.  Congrats to Atrapalo for doing just that.

Paul is a senior digital analyst, where he works with clients such as Stanley Black & Decker, the University of Virginia, Lenovo, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. He believes in using data to prove the value of creativity, cut out digital clutter, and resolve disputes.

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