I just wanted to clarify our position on the One-Day Photography courses that we run at the Angel Hotel in Hampshire.
We sell our courses on various platforms which are offered by way of vouchers. The main outlet for our courses was the education website called Hot Courses and its associated businesses such as Floodlight Courses and Love My Course. We also sell promotional deal courses via Groupon and Living Social on a slightly different basis.
The courses offered on Hot Courses were the basic One-Day courses and we had an agreement with Hot Courses to book these training days via their website and also via their support on our own on-line booking system as a part our own website. This system worked very well for many years to the benefit of both parties, us and Hot Courses. The only issue that we ever had with Hot Courses was the length of validity of these vouchers which was three times the length of the validity of the vouchers offered on Groupon and Living Social hence the extra cost via the Hot Courses Group. Hot Courses, we learn, have been taken over by a new owner and have decided to end their association with us and other small training and consultation companies without our approval. They have offered to continue advertising our courses but the thousands of pounds that they now require to continue this advertising is far beyond the resources of O’Brien Cooper Photography. They have now ditched us and no longer advertise our products or offer their support on our website.
We will continue to honour the vouchers that we have sold via Hot Courses but as the Hot Courses Group now no longer support us and our business we have no alternative but to revert to our own terms of trading. We can’t work to the terms of trading of a company that no longer has any association with our business which basically means that vouchers that were valid for 12 months with Hot Courses are now valid for 4 months or until the next available course if the 4 months period has now passed. We have contacted all the voucher holders to explain this situation.
With the change in promotions from Hot Courses to our deals with Groupon and Living Social there has to be a complete change in our way of operating.
Hot Courses and their associated companies together with their support on our website provided a large percentage of our income whereas Groupon and Living Social deals are profit neutral. This has meant that we can no longer provide discounted deals from the Groupon or Living Social platforms and they will cease from the end of July this year. Again we will honour the vouchers that have been purchased and are still valid. Those vouchers that have expired cannot be redeemed.
The One-Day beginner courses will, unfortunately, finish this summer and we will be reviewing our training program over the summer months with a view to starting a new training season, perhaps, starting next spring/summer, 2018. In the meantime we will continue to operate as a full-time commercial photography business. We will also be reviewing our website, which will reflect the new direction of the business. Various personnel will leave the business and we may recruit new trainers and photographers but we will have to wait to see what transpires over the summer.
We hope that we have not upset too many of our fantastic customers but these circumstances are far beyond any control that we may have and, through greed and a climate of change, we are forced to rethink all our operations.
We do, though, look forward to seeing many of our customers in future on some new courses.
We will send another blog a bit later.