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20 January 2016
QA - the UK's largest training provider and 'preferred supplier' for many organisations has what might be described as a 'Jekyll and Hyde' approach to their customers.
Here's just two examples for EXACTLY the same QA course, on the same date and at the same location!
|QA||£2231||Installing and Configuring Windows 10||Birmingham - Hill Street, B5 4UA||17/07/2017|
|Focus On Training (QA Owned*)||£1495 - 33% less!||Installing and Configuring Windows 10||Birmingham - Hill Street, B5 4UA||17/07/2017|
|QA||£3345||VMware vSphere 6.5: Install, Configure, Manage||International House, London, E1W 1UN||10/07/2017|
|Focus On Training (QA Owned*)||£2395 - 28% less!||VMware vSphere 6.5: Install, Configure, Manage||International House, London, E1W 1UN||10/07/2017|
Prices shown on respective websites 15/3/2017.
Here's an example for Installing and Configuring Windows 10. There's been over a 6% price rise in under 8 months on the main QA site while Focus on Training remained constant for the example courses. Other prices changed with a different pattern - QA's main site generally showing a greater increase.
You will find literally hundreds of equivalent listings for:
Its surprising to find that QA are selling their courses at two vastly different prices for exactly the same product on the same dates and at the same locations!
*QA openly state that they own Focus on Training and both companies are registered to the same address. The disparity in pricing doesn't appear to be down to marketing practices such as 'Early Bird' or 'Late Deal' discounts as the price differences run consistently over many months. So the conclusion must be they have a two tier approach which could be viewed rather cynically and is contrary to the statements on the 'Our Values' and other sections of their website.
This pricing strategy, where the same product is sold at differing prices, is often referred to as 'Price Discrimination'. Usually they'd be a clear differentiator such as reduced rates for students or pensioners but in this case it appears to be based purely on prospective customer's web search habits and savviness - a vague demographic at best and potentially very costly to busy HR departments sourcing training!
Many organisations, including local government, have negotiated 'preferred supplier' agreements with QA based on their reputation and reach. A reasonable public question is what pricing model these have been negotiated in line with and hence whether value for money is being achieved?
Another aspect to this is that lower volume customers, paying the higher of QA's prices, may well be subsidising some otherwise non-viable preferred supplier contracts!
This would allow QA to exercise control over purchasing by major customers including local government.
The UK training market has relatively few independent providers remaining and virtually all the major players are now at least part owned by overseas investors. Once the fixed costs of an event have been met adding further attendees greatly increases the potential profit. Here's an example:
16 attendees on a 5 day Microsoft course at QA's advertised price the revenue for a single event will be:
There's so much revenue in practice that QA actually negotiated a £50 million refinancing package - not something that can easily be done without evidence of substantial potential rewards!Read more...