- Dynamic pricing is used to set prices for activities beyond ridesharing and concert tickets.
- A family was asked to pay $418.90 to go bowling, the Wall Street Journal reported.
- Experts warned that companies would most likely introduce price increases in response to the pandemic.
Price hikes can be a headache for those trying to call Ubers after sporting events or book a flight after a treacherous weather event. But now the pricing method is spreading to other venues, like bowling alleys, restaurants and golf courses, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Alex Yenni, who lives in the Bay Area, told the WSJ when trying to reserve bowling tickets in December. he was offered $418.90 for two hours with his son in an alley in Petaluma, California – twice what it would have cost if he had paid in February.
The company that owns the rides told WSJ the additional costs were due to increased demand during a busy winter break.
“That strikes me as outrageous for a pedestrian family activity,” Yenni told the Journal.
WSJ also found examples of the practice at golf courses, restaurants and movie theater chains like AMC, which recently announced they would start using variable pricing for premium seats with better views.
Insider previously reported that AI-driven dynamic pricing is making its way through business sectors like retail and grocery to keep up with changing post-Covid market demands. A startup designed to help restaurants set their own price increases has also been launched and has helped some establishments double their profits, Insider’s Nancy Luna reported.
Experts say that as online shopping becomes more popular, this method of pricing could even hit brick-and-mortar stores that are starting to install electronic shelf labels, Insider reported in 2020.
“Covid has really changed perspectives on pricing…now taking center stage as grocery stores fight media talk about price inflation and non-essential industries like fashion work to price unsold inventory without plunging,” Jon Duke, Vice President of Research at IDC Retail Insights, Insider said in 2020.
Some restaurant chains that adopt surge pricing are increasing their prices by as much as 40% during peak periods, Colin Webb, the co-founder and CEO of dynamic pricing startup Sauce, told Insider in December.