“Only two things we’ll regret on deathbed – that we are a little loved and little traveled”. Mark Twain, the greatest cynic in history, has hidden a tiny ulcer even in these wise, “life-knowing” words. Mark Twain loved so much, that few of us can even dream about such love. Mark Twain, during his long life, traveled and saw so much, that you, who experienced at least 5% of his impressions, really deserve to become a president of tourist association called “Envy me, neighbor, have been all around the world (btw, I traveled with your wife and she is hot)”.
Even our age of high-speed Internet, jets and those goods, on the first glance of which decent girls are supposed to blush heavily, not integrate them with their iPod, iPhone or any other product of apple occupation, would bring Mark Twain (on his deathbed) less regrets than any of us feel (but he, for sure, regrets, that in the 19th century you couldn’t make a fortune on integrating Apple and.. you get it, I think. What a space for satires..).
It happened so, that Mark Twain was my favorite author since very childhood and due to that I, in my early ages, decided such a thing: I should never regret anything. At that naive time I didn’t understand: love and traveling, nowadays, is the matter of quantity of cut paper in your pocket. Love of this kind was mentioned in the previous post, now it’s time to clear the questions about “for-sale” traveling.
About 6 years ago, on the very beginning of my business-career, when week salary of young specialist was split between paying back the debts and subsequent celebration of paying the debts back, I spent a year, serving the company to the top of my abilities, then got my first holiday money (not a bad sum, I would say) and following the precepts of “American literature fathers”, set off to my first, kind of DIY, travel. The first working year was really tough for me, moreover, I was pleasantly surprised by the price and tempting photos of people, sipping their drinks carefree right in the chaise lounges, and long-haired beauties were freshening their bronzed bodies with fans (but the waters of the Red Sea, parting on the background, were implying that such a service isn’t available for each and every) – that’s why I opted for the “hot” tour to Egypt, Sharm el-Sheikh. Well-known and widely loved all-inclusive cost me a fortune (6 years ago, even $500 for me was quite a fortune). With a heavy heart, I counted my holiday money, then pondered how many friends, talking about those, to whom I owe money, I would lose after the arrival, read Twain once again to fix the confidence and finally set off to the country of the pyramids, pharaohs and awful beer.
…6 out of 11 days of my rest have passed. Burned, during the first days, skin peeled, and now body was covered with matte bronze tan. At this moment, I realized that it’s high time to think over 2nd precept of moustached American Marko-not-wearing-Polo of the 19th century – to find a better half for the whole life (or, at least, for last 5 days of vacation). Keeping in mind secret of my eloquence, sat in the bar near the pool and methodically began to flood myself with gin and tonic. During the third portion, I noticed a cute girl on the other corner of the counter, making eyes at me (or maybe it just seemed to me so, we’ll never know). In 15 minutes we were sitting next to each other, confidentially chatting, barman was renewing “Tequila Sunrise” for her. Our chat was quite challenging ‘cause she was Italian, and only Italian words I knew were chorus of Italian song by Adriano Chelentano “Susanna” and phrase “Voglio una femme!” (ital.I want a woman!) from “Amarcord” by Federico Fellini, which was shouted from the top of the tree by coo coo uncle of main character.
The last phrase was quite ironical at this situation, but starting you chat with Sicilian beauty in such manner could mean: a) you’re suicide b) you’re Alen Delon. I was neither first nor, to the greater regret, second, and that’s why first 15 minutes, breaking the conversation from time to time to recover the breath from bursts of laughter, we tried to get acquainted. Finally, I got that her name was Gabriella. Every next drink made us understand each other much better; somehow we started discussing our travel experience. She confessed that she loves resorts, especially rather cheap, as this one, f.e, and complained on Italian government of complete bores. I, trying to fight laughter, asked, how much did this resort cost her (it happened so, that out tours were absolutely equal). She, also laughing freely, without even thinking, on finishing her 4th cocktail, answered: “Hot tour, 120 bucks, not bad”.
In few seconds I got absolutely sober. The businessman inside me was sounding the alarm. I quickly thought over the difference between the levels of development of infrastructure, all the other things and understood that a) I got tricked b) my Italian Madonna of the last few hours confused some facts. I was preparing for this trip, looking over all possible variants, just couldn’t make a mistake, not for such amount of money. Gabriella, damn her, meanwhile was talking in broken English about Scandinavia, and her “geeky” brother Alessandro (she called him Sandro, quite vulgar, I would say). There, in the bar, I thought that she was talking about one of her silly voyages to Norway or Sweden or somewhere over there. Few weeks ago, when I cleared up what’s the matter, I felt great respect to Gabriella, her brother, family, Italian nation and the Western world in the whole.
After returning back home, I had a meeting with one of my colleagues and I told him everything (forgetting some minute details and exaggerating most important things). During my story he was bursting into laughter and calling me an idiot on some moments. However, he enlightened me about how my dear Gabriella managed to save $380 and what was her “Scandinavian” speech about, and that’s why I’m grateful to him till now and forever.
Actually, she wasn’t talking about some trip to Scandinavia with her brother-geek. I was shocked so heavily that missed the most important part of her broken speech – her brother, Alessandro, even 6 years ago was quite an experienced person in Internet-business, and bought to his dear little sister hot tour to Egypt at one of the online-auctions, which were only beginning to appear. It was one of the first Italian online-auctions, which specialized on, so called, penny auctions. At this very moment, I realized that my ignorance exceeding all possible borders and the rest of my vacation I devoted to self-education and discovered a new world of online-auctions, which appeared in my life so surprisingly (what finally brought me into Merkeleon team).
Penny auction, which brought to my Italian girlfriend such a huge benefit – one of the most complicated, in terms of organization and “tuning-up”, online-auction types. There are enormous amount of nuances, which you are to keep in mind, and that’s why the best option, if you have decided to start your own auction business (or to integrate auction with your business-scheme, Internet-shop or travel agency), would be to buy a ready-to-be-used, completely configured for you, auction, and that’s exactly what we offer. More details about terms of buying and configuring your auction you may find at our website.
Penny auction is a little bit more complicated than the Dutch one, which we talked over in the previous post. Briefly, the principle of such kind of auction may be explained like this – auction starts from the lowest price, which is increasing consequently during the time of auction. The auction participants are making their bets, each bet slightly increases the price of the lot ($0.01, f.e.) But, to make a bet, the participant have to pay fixed amount of money (tax, I would say) to the owner of this auction (to you, obviously), and this tax exceeds an increase of price 50 or 100 times (each bet usually costs $0.5 or $1). Auction lasts some definite amount of time, set by you, as an owner of it. However, every bet is prolonging auction for 25-30 seconds. The winner is the participant who made the last bet before time stopped. Thus, quite obviously that this purchase is a bargain for the winner (each bet – only $0.01 price increase), and the profit of the owner of the auction (you, of course) exceeds the market price of the lot twice or even more. To clear things up a little bit, let me give you kind of simple example.
Huge travel agency competes at the same market with few powerful companies. Service, terms of payment, efficiency, price, marketing – talking about all these things, companies, which managed to become so successful, are absolutely equal – absolutely perfect. In this situation, it’s quite challenging to find a competitive advantage, which would involve new clients (or, what’s even more important – which would help you to entice your competitor’s loyal clients). You, as the president of the company, tried everything possible, but the company conquered its 25% of the market and it seems absolutely impossible to make it go on growing. In despair, you even started reading “Positioning” by Jack Trout – quite interesting, actually, but all of these you know from your own experience and even can write a book called “How to succeed in your business career without reading any books on how to succeed in the business career”. And one sunny day, absolutely randomly, you have come across Merkeleon website. If you choose one of our offers, and integrate your rich business experience and our developments, that will become a great competitive advantage in the war, you have on your market. Have a look:
You, as a travel agency, want to sell hot tour to Greece, market price = $450 (accordingly, competitor’s prices are almost the same). You have bought Penny Auction made on Merkeleon platform and ready to sell this hot tour at the auction. You can integrate online-auction with your company’s website.
Auction starts from the absolute minimum, $0. The auction time is 5 days, f.e., for hot tour it’s the best option. Each bet increases the price for $0.05 and the tax for each bet = $0.5. We’ll assume, that 1500 bets were made for these 5 days (each of them brings you $0.5 profit). Auction is finished. The winner is the participant who made the 1500th bet. He purchased hot tour to Greece for $75, what’s 6 times cheaper, than your competitors can offer. I give you 100%, this man is your company’s new and most loyal client. Wouldn’t this type of involving the clients be “ruinous” for our budget? – I anticipate the question. No, absolutely not. Moreover, this hot tour will bring you twice more profit than your competitors can possibly get from it. Have a look, 1500 bets were made, each increases your profit for $0.5, it sums at 1500*$0.5 = $750. And moreover, you have sold the tour for $75. Consequently, your profit finally sums at $750+$75 = $825. Even Mark Twain would have shaken your hand with respect for such a bargain.
Isn’t that what you’re dreaming about? I answered a lot of time ago. Now, it’s time for your turn.