Tag Archives | insomnia

Irish Hotels? Struggling to survive? How about meeting customers needs?

Instead of doing the same thing that you’ve always done, hoping that eventually things will magically get better again.

There were two articles within 24 hours of each other recently that inspired this particular rant. The first was from Twenty Major in his “Tourism Suggestions” blog post. Straight out, he touches on a subject I wrote about here some time ago – the misguided focusing of tourism people on the so called “tourism tax” as the reason why people aren’t coming to Ireland:

So fewer people are coming to Ireland. Numbers are 25% down apparently and tourism bosses want the €10 tourist tax scrapped. Which kind of misses the point. That tax is no expensive, it’s everything else.

He goes on to point out how detached from reality many hotels in Ireland are with their “per person sharing” (PPS) room charges. This was highlighted also in a letter to the Irish Independent:

The hotel industry now finds itself in the position of having 10,000 excess hotel rooms to fill. The Irish Hotels Federation is reported as complaining that there is no sign of an upturn in the future.

Neither the federation nor the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation seem to have appreciated that the general hotel policy of quoting rooms at ‘Per Person Sharing’ (PPS) is short-sighted.

There are many single people who would jump at the chance of a hotel holiday but who are put off by the letters PPS.

While that letter writer makes a good point above, their next sentence threw me a bit for a loop, so we’ll move quickly on.

Moreover, there are also couples who prefer not to share a room.

Twenty Major also points out something I’ve been writing about here over the past couple of years – many businesses, though finding things tough – aren’t doing anything different to try to attract new, or extra, business.

Encourage bars and restaurants to offer real value, especially in Dublin. Gone are the days where location = profits. Fuck you and your €15 salad. Buy drinks all afternoon, get a round on the house. Requires a huge cultural change but it’s better than twiddling your thumbs, right?

It seems that some businesses would rather close down than try to encourage new business by trying something different. I’ve written about it before here, but a great innovation by the Insomnia Coffee chain was their breakfast (coffee and a muffin for €3.50) and lunch (coffee and a sandwich for €5) offers.

You only have to look around many other similar type businesses to see how staid their own offerings is to their office working potential customers.

Insomnia even tried another offer (the ill-fated 3 for 2 deal) which very quickly cost them a lot of money and it quickly stopped. But they tried, and went back to their other deals, and more importantly have kept them in place.

You can only admire businesses who try new and different things. And just feel sorry for those that are hoping for their fortunes to turn by doing absolutely nothing – such business don’t deserve our business, in good times or in bad times.

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Coffee Shops – where’s the money being made

I guess that most people know this, but I heard about an interesting talk given by Bobby Kerr of the Insomnia Coffee chain recently that gave great insight into how much coffee chains actually make on selling a cup of coffee.

We all (should) know that we can buy a jar of coffee in the supermarket for the same price as we’d pay for one coffee in a coffee shop. Yet we’ll still sometimes (maybe frequently) spend that money.

Mr. Kerr was talking about the success and failure of the special offers they’ve been offering recently. I’ve mentioned them here in the past.

The first offer was their “coffee and a sandwich” for €5 which at the time was pretty successful. Insomnia then moved on to offer “3 for the price of 2” in all their stores, and according to Mr. Kerr they got hammered.

When you think about it, it makes sense. So much so, that you’d wonder why they actually went ahead with that offer.

If most people go into coffee shops on their own, offering a 3 for 2 deal means that they’ll most likely get an extra piece of food or snack rather than a second coffee.

When your profit margin is mostly on the coffee rather than the foods and snacks, you’d rather that they take the coffee where the loss can be more easily absorbed. But to their cost, Insomnia hadn’t considered the reality, and the offer didn’t last very long.

Hence you’re seeing the 3 new offers offering a “coffee plus….” deal instead where the large markup on the coffee can absorb some of the losses more comfortably, but also increasing appeal to customers. According to Mr. Kerr, these offers are likely to go on for some time given their success.

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More special offer innovation from Insomnia

You really have to hand it to Insomnia the coffee shop for their current marketing campaigns. They’re currently on my boycott list, but their in store advertising caught my eye earlier today.

I wrote before about their sandwich offers, but today I notice they’ve added two more features to their offer.

Now, as well as being able to get coffee and a sandwich for €5, you can now get coffee and a muffin in the mornings for €3 or coffee and a Panini at lunch time for €6.

All very simple, and pretty much covers most of what they sell.

But unfortunately, if you’re on the list, you’re not getting my business.

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Coffee Special Offers – again

I wrote about this before, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. The Insomnia coffee shop lunch deal is hard to beat at the moment when it comes to competition for lunch business in the Dublin 2 area at least.

For €5, you get your sandwich and any sized coffee. The best thing about this particular offer is that it’s any sandwich they sell, not “special” (read plain and boring) sandwiches that are on offer from Café Sol for example.

This week, my sandwich was €5.25 on its own, and I still got my coffee on top of that for €5 – normal cost €8.50. Obviously there are cheaper ways to have lunch, but if this is your thing, then it’s pretty good value in my book.

That said, the 3 cheese and ham sandwich in the new Costa Coffee on Dawson Street is really taking my fancy these days. Yum yum!

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Competition Works

I’ve written a couple of times about the special offer in Insomnia coffee stores recently – any coffee and any coffee for €5. It’s great value and something I take advantage of myself a somewhat regularly.

Now a rival coffee shop, Cafe Sol, has come up with a competing offer. This offer is for a small soup and a “special sandwich” for €6. On the face of it this is quite an interesting offer – especially as the option of soup now compared to a coffee with the approaching winter is appealing.

However, by being just that little bit stingy about it, Cafe Sol have taken the good out of the offer. I don’t really mind the small soup (though it’s a bit sad), but it’s the “special sandwich” that’s the problem. As it turns out, a “special sandwich” is really only plain chicken, plain ham, or plain egg.

This is compared to the Insomnia where you can get any size coffee, as well as any sandwich in their range. Nice try Cafe Sol, and I’m sure you’ll attract plenty business with the offer, but not mine. Well, unless it gets really really cold.

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Value for money – coffee, sandwiches and journalism

Back in August I wrote about how the Insomnia coffee chain were providing some excellent lunchtime value with their “€5 coffee and a sandwich offer”.

The Sunday Tribune caught up with the story last Sunday with their article “Salad days over as downturn bites into sandwich shop profits” , quickly followed by the Evening Herald today with their article “Cafes wake up and smell the need for value coffee”. Click on the image below for a clearer view of the comparison between the two articles.

I wonder are Jane Last from the Evening Herald and Neil Callanan from the Sunday Tribune actually one and the same person. “Hi, my name is Pauline during the week, Paul at weekends”

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Special offers to attract new business

I personally don’t believe that enough Irish businesses make the effort to attract new customers. It is my opinion that the description of the behaviour of many Irish consumers can best be described as “inertia”.

As someone working in Dublin 2, there’s regular conversations in the office regarding where to go for the lunchtime sandwich, wrap or whatever. Personally, I’m not one who agrees with those that advocate buying the raw materials for sandwiches and making them at home.

From my perspective, the balance between the time and cost to do all this myself doesn’t stack up against the lesser cost of having someone else do this for me. Particularly because from experience, there’s a greater chance of food waste – unless I want to have the same sandwich 5 days a week.

An observation made recently was that many of the lunchtime providers in the Dublin 2 area don’t seem to make much of an effort to attract new or different clients. Most of my own colleagues have their own favourite places to go, and rarely go outside a select one or two places.

So it was interesting last week to see the Insomnia outlets on Nassau Street and Dawson Street advertising a new offer. They’re offering a sandwich and a coffee for €5. According to the boards in the outlets, it’s any sandwich and any coffee any time during the day for €5.

Assuming you get a large coffee mocha for €3.40 and a turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sandwich for €4.75 – that’s a saving of €3.15. Not to be sniffed at!

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