On 14-04-2020, we introduced a Dynamic Pricing System on all our treks. Uncommon in the adventure industry, we have been receiving a lot of queries from our community about this move. We discuss answers to some of the frequently asked questions below.
What is dynamic pricing?
Dynamic pricing is a pricing strategy where the price of a product or service varies based on the market demand for it. In our case, we designed an algorithm to alter the booking price of our treks based on its market demand which is estimated by the number of seats and time remaining in a particular batch.
Why did we shift to a Dynamic Pricing System?
Early on in the industry, we noticed that certain treks received a disproportionately high footfall than the others. In an attempt to reduce the increased burden on these overloaded trails, the Bikat Adventure Exploration Team put together 48 brand new trails for the community after some extensive work.
This move, much to our delight, was effective in redistributing some of the crowd heading into the over-used trails.
To be precise, a whopping 40 % of our trekkers began branching out into exploring our newer alternatives like Markha Valley Winter Trek, Sham Valley, Mantalai Lake Trek etc.
But 60% of our community continued to opt for the famous trails like Kedarkantha, Rupin Pass, Brahmatal, and Buran Ghati (which incidentally forms only 17 % of our product line). It was still a massive number for the fragile eco-systems of these regions.
To better understand what else we could do, we began studying some of our past data. These unearthed some perturbing trends.
Some dates and treks, for instance, received an alarmingly high proportion of bookings when compared to the rest.
We found out that of the total bookings we received in 2019, 74% of our trekkers booked treks that started on a Saturday while 12.8% of the trekkers opted for batches that started on a Sunday. Only a minuscule portion booked those treks that began on weekdays.
To know more about these insights, please read the following article:
Such skewed demand was leading to over-crowding of some trails. In an attempt to even this out, we pondered over introducing a dynamic pricing system on all our activities.
How does Dynamic Pricing tackle overcrowding on trails?
Although uncommon in the trekking industry, dynamic pricing seems like the perfect solution to tackle overcrowding.
When we sat down to brainstorm the idea, we studied the models of other competent industries that engaged in services similar to ours. In particular, we looked into the pricing models of Airlines and Movie Theatres.
If you book a flight on a weekday or a movie in the morning show, you are likely to get better offers because of low demand during these dates/times. Selling at lower prices on less sought after dates/times not only helped these industries utilize their capacity better but also helped pass on the benefits to the customers.
We decided to adopt the same idea for our treks.
The algorithm incentivizes bookings made on less sought after days, dates, and trails by offering a better quantum of discounts. The idea was to not only incentivize bookings made during the weekdays but also to encourage you to make your bookings early. It would give you enough time to prepare well for the trek/expedition.
Will you also be charging a higher price for those treks that are in greater demand?
No, we will not be charging a higher price for treks that are in greater demand. The idea is not to penalize anybody in our community for wanting to opt for the trails more traveled. If you wish to experience one of the more popular treks, we still want to encourage you to do it.
Our objective is only to shift some of the attention towards the lesser-known trails by incentivizing the bookings there so that the crowded ones can rest and recuperate a bit.
It is not that the less popular trails are any less exciting or beautiful. The crowded trails happen to be that crowded simply because they have been around longer and grew more popular through word of mouth.
Much to our dismay, we have had many trekkers return from some of the more popular trails feeling disgruntled and disturbed.
For example, this was Brahmatal during Christmas last year (2019).
Roopkund was another trek that fell prey to overcrowding due to word of mouth popularity. One trekker who visited Roopkund when it was operational wrote the following to us:
" I went to roopkund in 2016 and was so disturbed and pissed off looking at the state of Patal Nachuni campsite that it turned me off. I was depressed and felt guilty of being part of this mess that we as humans are creating and could not finish the trek. "
This incident is not a one-off instance. Many trekkers have fallen prey to such unfortunate circumstances. We have compiled more such stories of our trekkers from a survey we held on our Instagram page earlier this year.
If you asked our founders or trek leaders for recommendations, they are likely to suggest one of our unconventional trails over the conventional ones.
It is primarily because the joys of trekking are amplified even more on these routes. The crowd is lesser, the environment more pristine, and the trails host new and fun challenges for the team.
Okay, so where can I find dynamic prices on your website?
You can find them on all our itinerary pages. Visit any of the itinerary pages of our treks and expand on the dates bar. You will find the details listed beside each batch date.
Some dynamic pricing discounts go as high as 25% on our treks! So if you could spend some time exploring the offers on different treks and arrange with your workplace to shift your holidays by a bit, you could end up saving big on your bookings!
It is all about getting that right permutation and combination.
I have a voucher from Bikat Adventures. Can I combine this voucher with the dynamic prices?
Since the dynamic prices are incentives themselves, we do not allow the combining of vouchers with dynamic prices. Based on what works best, you can choose to apply one of the options at the time of booking.
If you would like to use your voucher, please note that it will be applied to the original MRP of the trek while booking and not the dynamic price. If you choose not to use the voucher, you can do so and opt for the dynamic prices instead.
I have the Bikat Pass. How does Dynamic Pricing work with this?
Since the Dynamic Pricing System got introduced after the Bikat Pass, the rules for your Pass will remain the same. There won’t be any changes.
The trails that fall under the ‘free’ category remain free. A flat 30% discount on the original MRP will be applicable for treks falling under the discounted category.
We hope this answers some of the questions you had on the dynamic pricing system we have introduced. If you have any other queries, do drop them in the comments section below. Our team will get back to you.