The ever-changing character of hospitality has led the industry’s focus away from improving the quality of the rooms themselves and deeper into creating a more complex guest experience. While issues such as driving up direct bookings and managing room rates across various distribution channels are still a top priority of hotel revenue management, it has become more apparent than ever that these practices are in themselves insufficient when it comes to revenue optimisation.
Non-room revenue now plays a pivotal role in increasing an establishment’s profit margin which is why hoteliers everywhere are expanding their efforts in creating all-inclusive guest experiences across all price ranges. Guest expectations are no longer limited to the room itself, but rather include a wide range of services and activities that they demand to be provided to them as part of their hotel experience. In order to manage these expectations effectively hoteliers are advised to expand their services into several areas:
Culinary tourism holds sway over many travellers and as such, it plays an important part in whether or not they will choose to book with your establishment. The dining experience in your hotel can both set you apart from the competition and help increase your overall occupancy rates.
You should consider the character of your establishment and the type of F&B service you could possibly provide based off both your budget and guest demands. Maybe you don’t have space for a proper kitchen, but at the same time if your average guest is a backpack traveller in their mid-twenties then an in-house bar with signature drinks and snacks that would give them just enough of the local flavour, would be more up your alley.
If you were to support a restaurant or a bistro then you could leverage it as a way to drive up group bookings, by offering event planning services fully customisable to the guests’ demands. This guarantees you a double source of revenue with guests paying for both rooms and meals at your establishment.
Investing in good restaurant service is the strongest upsell you could give your guests. Many hoteliers are beginning to use property management solutions in the management of the everyday operations of their restaurants. Point of sale solutions, for example, allow your servers to bill the guests’ room directly instead of demanding upfront payment for their meal.
2. Entertainment & Event Organisation
If there is an event worth visiting anywhere near you be it a concert, a festival, or an exhibition you could be using it drive up bookings by advertising a double deal package (room plus event ticket) across your social media platforms, or even invest in striking a deal with the event organisers to include you on the list of hotels catering to the event goers. This can mean excessive exposure to a large new customer base with guaranteed full occupancy for the duration of the event.
Of course, the better version of this would be to host the event itself. If you have premises with one or more event halls and enough rooms to services to cater to a large event you should get in touch with corporate clients and offer them the opportunity to host their business events at your establishment . With staff reductions across other segments of your business due to the increasing involvement of property management systems you can afford an event manager and coordinator and simply provide them with the necessary hotel software tools to organise and host a great event.
3. Recreational Actives & Transportation
Any activity favoured by your guests can be used to upsell them even if your own premises cannot support it. You don’t need to have a golf course to sell lessons, as you can simply strike a deal with a nearby establishment and take a percentage of the sales generated.
You can even arrange for transportation to and from your hotel which is another great boost to your revenue margin. With more and more guests favouring air travel, providing the option of a shuttle directly to your hotel can not only increase guest satisfaction but also play a key role in long term guest loyalty.
How do you sell these services?
By rethinking the guest package you could allow your business enough flexibility to meet any guest demand. Instead of offering a standard ‘family’ or ‘luxury’ package you could leave the guest to choose what services they would prefer to spend their money on without putting a specific constraint on the type or character of the service provided.
Hoteliers nowadays provide guests who book directly from their website the opportunity to install their hotel self-service app which allows guests to select a host of services offered by the establishment and leave notes on customising some of them to their own liking. This way a guest can plan an engagement proposal or a surprise birthday party all with the help of a mobile app.
It is often easy to forget however that while such tools are essential to reaching a wider customer base they are in no way a replacement for the direct upselling services provided by your own staff. If your staff is properly motivated they will actively double down on upselling guests and the guests themselves would be much more likely to venture out and try out a new service if there is actual human involvement in the exchange.
Can you guarantee the positive effect of these changes on occupancy and average daily rates?
Your ancillary revenue segment can be used as a basis to increase your average daily room rates. With guests demanding less from the room itself and more from the additional services you provide, they would be more inclined to pay more if their stay at your hotel allows them access to your on-site spa, gym and a golf course. Having lower room rates would work against you in such a scenario as potential guests could presume that the lower rates correspond to the lower quality of the services provided.
While you’re working to upsell your current guests it’s important not to forget that with the help of social media portals you can improve guest acquisition and increase occupancy rates if you develop a stable social media presence for your business, focusing on the services and the experiences potential guests can look forward to.
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About Clock Software
Clock Software is a global provider of cloud-based property management systems (PMS), integrated online distribution, online & kiosk hotel self check-in solutions and mobile & in-room guest engagement systems with customers in more than 65 countries.