By Maggie Reimherr
Whether we’re aware of it or not, Derek and I spend a lot of time selling ideas to each other.
“How about sushi for dinner? I’m seeing that we have $50 left in our restaurants budget on Mint, and there are only 3 days left in the month. We can do this.”
“Would you like to go to an improv show on Sunday night? This is one we haven’t seen, and the tickets are only $15.”
We present an idea to the other person and back it up with hard support, convincing the other that we have a good idea. These are pitches.
I recently played the long game on a sales pitch to Derek. This longform pitch was to convince Derek that in lieu of other, previously pitched ideas, we should go to a tropical resort and sip margaritas for a week for our anniversary. I knew selling this to him would take some time, but I was up to the challenge.
The idea arose when we got back from our honeymoon. We’d just had a perfect vacation, and I was experiencing some post-wedding blues. I was longing for the ~unlimited luxury~ of a resort. I casually looked into *hypothetical scenarios* to compare prices on a similar vacation in the future.
On our honeymoon, we sat through a 2 hour timeshare presentation for $100 spa coupons. (Was it worth it? Idk, you be the judge.) During the presentation, we were shown a list of partner travel companies of our resort chain. One in particular caught my eye - Cheap Caribbean.
The name lived up to its promise. I dove into the array of travel deals offered on the site. Soon, I had a “hypothetical vacations” email folder containing itineraries for nearly 30 different trips - all roughly 50-60% cheaper than our honeymoon.
I initially presented my idea to Derek in a casual way, forwarding him one of the hypothetical itineraries and saying, “Check out how great this deal is!”
He replied, “Wow, if we had the time off of work to spare, I’d go right now.”
The door was open. I could proceed with my pitch. Over time, I brought up the idea with more seriousness until finally making my stance clear: “I think we should do this for our anniversary.”
Derek’s reply: “I like this idea, but I want to look at all of our options. How about you compile some more options at a few different price points, and we’ll discuss all of them?”
I compiled a Google Doc comparing the following vacations:
Lowest Price Point (Base Price Point): 3 nights in New York
Middle Price Point ($500 more): 4 nights in San Francisco OR 4 nights in New Orleans
Highest Price Point ($1000 more): 7 nights at an all inclusive resort in Mexico or Caribbean via Cheap Caribbean OR 5 nights at Disney World/Universal Studios in Orlando
When Derek saw that 7 nights at an all inclusive resort in Mexico would cost the same as 5 nights in Orlando for Disney and Harry Potter (our other most frequently discussed vacation option), he was sold. “If you feel good about this, let’s book it,” he told me.
Still cautious, I did more research. In digging, I found a few negative reviews for Cheap Caribbean. After reading, I concluded that the bad reviews derived from unrealistic customer service expectations… especially for a website that has the word “cheap” in the title. Derek said, “I trust you.”
From there, I started honing in on specific deals. Cheap Caribbean rates resorts with 1-5 “suns.” 3-sun rated resort prices were impressive, but their reviews weren’t. I knew wanted more bang for our buck. However, more suns means more dollars, and I wasn’t about to exceed our budget. I started banging my head against the wall trying to find a happy medium of luxury and price. Here enters the “Deal of Fortune.”
In this deal, Cheap Caribbean guarantees you’ll be placed at one of a few specified resorts in a similar location within a certain “sun” rating. After more research, I learned 2 things you must accept to go along with this deal: 1) Being placed in the “worst” of the resort options offered and 2) not having a premium room, like an ocean view.
If you’re skeptical, so was I. But I read review after review and forum after forum, discovering traveler submitted pros and cons. From what I read, I learned that deals like this exist because resorts aren’t typically filled to occupancy. They make money by offering a lower priced vacation for flexibility - at the benefit of the resort and cost of the traveler.
My research sold us on the Deal of Fortune. We went with the 5-sun option, because that was the only category in which the “worst option” remained quite luxurious. You’re highly likely to be placed in a Secrets Resort, which is where we stayed on our honeymoon (score!).
From there, I narrowed down the location we wanted to book our trip to, making pro/con lists of each of the resorts we could possibly be placed at. TripAdvisor earned its place in my most visited websites during the research process.
After this intense due diligence, we sat down one night and booked our vacation. I am very excited to say we’re returning to Cancun in April for our second honeymoon! We’ll be staying at one of the following resorts: Secrets The Vine Cancun, Secrets Playa Mujeres, or Le Blanc Resort and Spa. We find out which one 7 days before we travel. The best part is that this vacation is less than half the cost of our honeymoon for something pretty similar.
We still have 7 months to go until this vacation, but when we do, I’ll follow up with a review on how the trip goes. For now, I’ll be counting down the days until I’m lying in the sun with a Corona in hand.