Rather than just continually competing on price as a lot of the market is focused on doing, start up-selling with a few of these best practices.
1.Create Packages (I am continually amazed at how few packages I see on offer on hotel websites)
Create experience packages that appeal to your market sector. Yes, this might take some brainstorming and creative ideas. We have loads on hand, I collect these believe it or not, ideas for great packages and cool package names.
The upsell can come after the guest has made the booking by contacting them direct or by email with images and the full experience on offer. (Many travel companies including Air BnB and b.com are focusing more and more of their marketing in this sector. This is what the market wants.)
2.Make them feel at home. A true character rich experience, gift them cosy slippers, offer an open area with 24hr snacks, fruit, filtered water etc. Organise free sunset drinks to get to know your guests, this works amazingly well in getting more outstanding reviews. Offer free books to read, free laundry minimum weight and even package these up and offer as incentives when people book directly with the hotel.
3.Target niche markets. Are you dog friendly (I am seeing more and more of these), Kid friendly & Family focused, Pre cruise, Pre flight, Theatre and Sporting fans.
4.Offer mood enhancers to guests from mushroom coffees, organic herbal specialty teas to fragrant essential oils. Imagine giving occasional guests a few drops of essential orange oil to rub on their hands to inhale and lift their day - they will love you for it.
5.Lift your common areas. Is it time to get creative and spend a few dollars on sprucing up the guest common areas, more luscious green foliage and plants (not plastic) real plants give off real fresh oxygen. Make it a co-working space for people to mingle, network and get some work done rather than be closed away in their hotel room.
6.Has your hotel embraced sustainable tourism, are your carbon off-setting, going plastic free and helping people in other parts of the world from every guest who chooses to stay with you? Are you promoting local businesses, artisans, services like offering your rooftop for local yoga classes benefiting the neighbourhood and the guest in-house.
7.Create a direct competitive edge. The biggest opportunities hotels have over OTA’s and even meta-search is that they are primarily focused on selling rooms at a price. On your website and through all your digital marketing be it through email or through social media, you get the opportunity to SELL THE EXPERIENCE.
8. Offer early check in and late check out (tailor this to your leisure and corporate guests and you will most certainly influence and win some new friends.)
9.Surprise and delight. Have an arrangement with your team that they have the power to surprise and delight guests where appropriate. Buy someone a cake on their birthday, fresh flowers never go out of style and chocolates always get eaten. It is the thought that counts and the care factor that gets remembered. Even reward people for booking directly with the hotel so that they know they are preferred guests.
10.Don’t forget the good old favourites by reaching out to guests before they arrive and offer an upgrade of champagne on arrival, cheese and wine, food and fruit hamper, gifts and entertainment for the kids (my kids still have the teddy bears I organised for them from one of our hotel stays in Sydney).
If you need a little help or would like to do some brainstorming with us, please feel free to get in touch…