The next time you haul your family around Sam’s Club, why not book a
vacation before you leave the store? This is now possible because Sam’ Club has
launched a new travel and entertainment service allowing club members to book
popular hotels and resorts, theme parks, movie tickets, and car rentals.
As you might expect, Sam’s Club is offering significant discounts to their members. An example featured in Reader’s Digest recently shows that tickets to a Disney World theme park can be bought for $42 per day, which is $70 less than the gate price. All ticket options are available, including the FastPass – essential if you want to avoid the lines.
This is great news for families seeking out deals on vacations and car
rentals, but why would Sam’s Club be offering travel and entertainment deals?
My first comment would be why not? Any large members group has the
opportunity to use their scale to negotiate discounts with travel and
entertainment companies. This is nothing new and deals like this are often used
by organizations such as trade associations or labor unions as a way of
offering members something extra.
However, I would say that it demonstrates that Sam’s Club is thinking
hard about where retail is heading. Customers need a good reason to get in
their car, brave the traffic, finding a parking spot, and then push through the
people browsing in-store. Anything they can add that makes it exciting, fun, or
interesting beyond just walking around the shelves will add to the experience.
It’s true that customers are unlikely to be browsing Disney vacations on
every visit to a Sam’s Club store, but this adds one more service that goes
beyond their core retail offer. As they think further and start offering a wider
array of services then a trip to the store could start getting really
In-store retail has to start being more engaging because online retail
is so easy. Initiatives like this demonstrate that some of the big players are
thinking seriously about how to change the experience they are offering