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Honeymoon Travel Registries as Cash Cows

The following is my response to a poster’s comments in the Etiquette Hell forum who worked for a honeymoon travel registry.

I believe your association with the mentioned travel registry has blinded you to the obvious. I’d almost be tempted to say you are disingenuous in your presentation of your company’s travel registry.

First, guests are NOT purchasing a honeymoon “experience” in the form of a voucher for aforementioned “experience” at a specific location. You work for a cash registry where guests believe they are purchasing a honeymoon experience but in reality, the newlyweds will receive cash in the form of three payment installments according to your company’s FAQ. The newlyweds has a choice of receiving the cash via check, PayPal or electronic funds transfer directing into their bank.

Why don’t guests just simply give the couple cash? Good question…but your company FAQ has the answer!

Some of your guests probably will, and that’s ok too. But many people would rather have something that feels more personal and more specific. Giving a gift of, say, a snorkel trip, or perhaps a night’s lodging at your resort is more memorable than being just another one of 50 people who all sent cash for whatever you decide to spend it on.

It “feels” more personal but the reality is that it isn’t. Of course, guests could give cash but that wouldn’t serve your company’s purposes of making money off the guests and directing business to your travel agents, who, according to the FAQ, could charge more money for their travel arranging services.

And oh, how convenient that you failed to mention in your post that your company takes a 9% “service charge” cut of the gross monetary income the newlyweds receive. Aunt Fifi *thought* she was buying a snorkeling experience for her niece and her new husband. Instead, her $100 gift went to the company’s coffers to pay for the cash registry service fee. The company only reduces this service charge if the newlyweds purchase their travel arrangements through them and then only if the cost of the travel exceeds certain amounts.

And let’s talk about your understanding of the etiquette regarding registries. The company web site FAQ advises brides and grooms to sneakily work in the link to the cash registry on their wedding site and then send out the URL to their wedding web site. That is directly opposite to what has been repeatedly advised on EtiquetteHell.com as proper, i.e. the only way a wedding registry should appear on a wedding web site is as a small, linked icon placed unobtrusively on the site. Guests who ask for a registry can be directed to click on the small icon.

But hey! Thanks for proving my many points made over the years that registries were created and exist to increase business by and for vendors. They are great marketing tools for wedding vendors.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Alexis July 6, 2009, 4:07 pm

    Professional gimmee pigs.
    Just as you have the kind of wedding you can afford, rather than the kind you wish you could afford, you also take the honeymoon you can afford, not the one you wish you could.

  • MJ September 29, 2010, 11:32 am

    Not every honeymoon registery works this way. I was married, used a honeymoon registery, there were no fees, we were not given cash, we were given what the guests paid for. If the company was unable to provide it (there was a situation where they ran out of required stock because it was a busy season) THEN we were given credit – not cash – that we could use towards room service or something else.

  • Adica November 16, 2010, 7:59 pm

    This is good to know. I thought that Honeymoon registries worked just like MJ described: where you actually get what gift givers paid for (with the exception of extenuating circumstances, of course). I think these kind are an excellent idea for, say, people who have lived on their own for a long time or (as in the case of my uncle who had one of these) for a second wedding or for gift givers who want to think outside the box. This cash cow kind, however, just goes to show that people (people registering and the gift giver) really, really need to read the fine print on everything. Geesh.