Thursday, December 15, 2005

Over the last few weeks I’ve been part of a team working on a new product launch. One of the interesting things and something I’ve only known from school is the process used in setting a price. While a specialist developed the pricing model, the team lead feels it is important that we all understand what the other team members are doing and why. As with any pricing exercise finding the balance between volume and margin per transaction is involved and since this is a business product the focus is on return on investment

How prices are set in my part time industry has been of interest for a while. I suspect most people entering that business, whether as an independent or running and agency, look around and see what others are charging and then charge the same. Periodically I surf through escort websites and note the hourly rates. For a long time 300 dollars or euros an hour were the typical rate, but in the last several months there seems to be a push to raise that to 350 or 400. Interestingly some cities that you would not expect lower rates have them; San Francisco, Boston and London are examples. Competition is likely the reason.

Over at RAPS there is a discussion board, High Dollar Hotties, it’s not a board that I participate in but I’ll occasionally peruse the topics listed to see if any of the threads interest me. Defining a HDH has been a popular topic, the moderators and most participants seem loathe to define what an HDH is and leave it to the participants to self define. In reading the posts I come away with the feeling that HDH is as much an attitude as it is a financial statement. Having said that I will note that visiting the websites of participants reveals that they are likely to charge in excess of 500 an hour and are more likely to have multi hour minimums.

Marie has pretty much set my rates. My initial rates were average and after a couple of months she raised them and then raised them again. Each time she did so I worried that I’d lose clients, but the opposite occurred. I began receiving more requests for my services. What happened? I became part of a luxury effect, I was desirable simply because I was expensive and my price was rising. Once we were charging what she wanted she left the rates alone and it became my responsibility to keep the men returning. I’ve also come to realize that if clients refused to pay my rate or didn’t return I would have been replaced. When I asked Marie how she decided on what was the ‘best’ charge, she replied that she didn’t have a formula but understood what her clients would pay.

My (limited) experience is that clients of expensive escorts, courtesans if you’d prefer, are interested in the company of a beautiful woman with the sex being the frosting. So when during the summer VJ sent a link to a New York Magazine article on a $2,000 an hour escort and her pimp (who is doing time at Rykers) I was curious. At first I was incredulous (and maybe a bit jealous), who would pay that kind of money for sex? Then it dawned on me, it wasn’t about the sex it was about the bragging rights with reference to having paid $2,000 for sex. After all we mostly may agree with how great sex makes us feel, we probably wouldn’t agree on what exactly what made us feel so good.

Since I often feel like a runt among amazons I did take satisfaction in learning that Natalia is 5’3” and weighs less than 100lbs. So take that you statuesque, well endowed model types.

The luxury effect at work again. If you need other examples of how this works go to these websites; 1, 2 and 3. Oh and we’ll assume the pics are legit. Is it tough for you to figure out a two diamond from a five diamond? Maybe more expensive girls read the weather on the ten o’clock news?

In part my incredulousness regarding Natalia and my bewilderment around the aforementioned agency girls is that is that they are providing a service I don’t identify with (and I’m not criticizing). After all I am not at all bothered that a woman will state her fee schedule as ten thousand a day, twenty-five thousand a weekend and fifty thousand a week. On the front page of Fiona’s website she states her daily rate with a statement that the client may choose be together for a shorter time but he paid for the day. I like that.

A while ago I instituted a two-hour minimum available for first dates only, when I returned this fall I upped that to four hours. Actually I no longer have an hourly rate but an evening, day and weekly rate. I describe my evening rate as being sufficient time to dine, participate in an event and have private time together. If pressed to define that more specifically I’ll tell the gentleman that he can expect four to six hours together, but that I don’t watch the clock.



Blogger An international escort's luxury travel blog. said...

Season Greetings dear lady. And all the best for the forthcoming year. Lovely post :-)

7:51 PM  
Blogger Pete from Cal said...

Your pricing suggests that you're among the upper echelon of the courtesan profession. For you to maintain that pricing scale, it shows you have what it take to stay there otherwise you'd have been shot back down. Without Marie, I hope you are holding up okay and able to harvest those gentlemen who have inquired about you into regulars. Take care! :)

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the courtesan services are probably far easier to come to some sort of pricing agreement than will many other non luxury services. It's actually a big problem in many industries. Prices are consistently dropping for many services due to outsourcing and over seas competition.

This does not often apply to some point source services that need to occur in proximity to special events/places or the towns where clients are visiting. Then you're part of the tourist industry. This is why the entire enterprise is better thought of as luxury entertainment at your level Kim.

But the pricing for all sorts of other services once common, even many banking & accounting services is under constant pressure from other providers. Many industries have not seen a true 'price rise' in their services for decades by now. They get by on higher volumes and more efficient delivery of services. So 'comparative' pricing is critical here if you are going to keep up with the market, which does after all set the prices for the services.

Lots of this does not apply well to pure luxury goods that some people just think they need to have as a matter of course. This is why the preverse effect of pricing yourself into ever more lucrative and exclusive markets. I could no longer afford to pay anyone 20K to spend a weekend with me, no matter how delightful. For that money you'd better be an architect, designing me some new digs someplace.

But I imagine it's a function of where you sit too. Melissa (NAH) seems to be able to get by nicely depending on the regular punters, and I'm sure they appreciate her just as well as the swells that will take you on a weekend in the country. There are some luxuries that are ever beyond the reach of the masses, and most like it that way.

Good Luck in your business venture! Cheers, 'VJ'

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FWIW Kim, There's this site too that might prove useful to you:

It might just be more entertainment, since plenty of it applies to the dot com boom & bust. Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ', ga.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Thanks VJ

12:30 PM  

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