The Most Revenue Optimized Place on Earth

  • The Most Revenue Optimized Place on Earth   

Next week I am visiting Walt Disney World with my kids and their best friends. I’ve been dreaming of taking my kids to Disney since before I even met my husband, meanwhile he has never been and imagined that he’d take his children to Disney once for the trip of a lifetime. I managed to convince him that it was worth it to bring them while they are still young enough to believe in the magic, and he agreed so long as I promised to stay under a budget of $7,000 CAD.

While I’ve managed to book our flights, car rental, lodging and park tickets with money to spare, there are a lot of unknowns to be accounted for, and this is largely due to revenue management practices. Here are a few examples of how my family was directly affected by the practice I love so much, and how we expect to be affected on site.

  1. While booking our flights and car rental (package on Expedia, it was cheaper than booking direct individually), we were notified that the price had gone up after my first attempt returned an error. For context, our friends were booking at the same time as us, and my theory is that the car rental company only had one standard SUV in inventory, so our reservation didn’t go through. I imagine these 2 reservation requests created a (false) sense of demand that ended up costing us $200. But it was tough to coordinate a time to reserve together, so we bit the bullet.

  2. As a group of 8 people (4 adults, two 4-year-olds and two 1-year-olds), we searched for a variety of lodging options onsite and off that would be convenient and affordable. We originally booked our lodging in August, but after the surprise price hike on our flights I decided to shop again. Lo and behold, we were able to book something very similar for $600 cheaper and I was well within my cancellation window. Let me say that this is the first time in my life that I have cancelled and rebooked based on rate, but at Disney, every dollar saved somewhere can be spent creating magic somewhere else.

  3. Park tickets took up the largest portion of our budget at $2,500 CAD. We originally planned on booking only 3 park days, but while we debated which park to skip Disney launched a promotion for Canadian residents. This deal meant it was cheaper to do 5 days than it was to do 4 and only $260 CAD more for 5 days than it was to do 3! Knowing that we are traveling with young children and wanting the flexibility to not have to force 12-hour days, we jumped on this deal. But more park days means more days of expensive food, more days of parking, more days of buying our kids overpriced souvenirs. The Disney revenue managers got me good.

  4. Travelling with a 22-month-old on my lap for over 3 hours is not my idea of a good time, but it’s cheaper and I only have 2 months left of the option. When I called the airline to book the seats with extra leg room so I could set my son up on the floor, I was told it would be $67 per seat ($402 extra dollars). There weren’t enough seats for us to be beside our friends and I didn’t want to have to deal with my 4-year-old crying because he wasn’t close to his best friend, so I opted to reserve regular seats next to them, for $162 CAD. I am positive that the money will be well spent when we board the flight at 6am and the kids can entertain each other.

  5. Now for the on-site expenses… we are opting for breakfast at the hotel before heading out, we have limited ourselves to one character-dining experience, we only have one reservation at a prix-fixe restaurant, and we will likely do quick-service and packed snacks. We will be buying Genie+ every day to have shorter wait times, and that price will vary depending on demand from $15 to $35 USD per person. Not to mention we may end up buying Individual Lightning Lanes for some of the more popular attractions. And don’t get me started on poncho prices, let’s just pray for good weather.

So before even stepping foot in the airport we’ve spent $6,004.38. I think I’m going to be breaking a promise to my husband! But hopefully the magic will be enough that he won’t care.

Rikki Cavanagh

Rikki Cavanagh is the Director of Sales, Marketing & Business Development at Rate Yield. Connect with Rikki on LinkedIn.

About Rate Yield

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Rate Yield was created in 2019 by seasoned Revenue Management consultants with over 30 years of experience within the field. Rate Yield RMS was designed to adapt to small hotels, inns, and resorts as well as large hotels in city centers. With settings and thresholds that can be modified against a hotel’s unique market trends, Rate Yield makes it more accessible than ever to implement AI in revenue management strategies. With real-time insights, agile strategy development, modules for budgets and forecasts, as well as a tool for displacement analyses, Rate Yield provides a complete software that will help your hotel to yield more revenue, period! To learn more, visit us at

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