Supplementary product upselling and cross selling in the travel industry has been a successful and predominant practice that many online and offline travel businesses benefit hugely from. In fact, businesses such as airlines, hotels, resorts, vacation rentals, and tour guide operators have a great opportunity to take advantage of these marketing strategies.
Travel businesses that offer additional services as part of the sale process target two core needs:
- They build brand loyalty, as they help customers package together services to enjoy a more well-rounded experience
- They create meaningful opportunities to increase revenue on each individual purchase
Here are a few best practices for marketing and selling ancillary services and products in your travel business:
Prepare, market, sell!
Every travel or hospitality business has a number of products or services that complement each other. The task, then, is to simply position them and sell:
- Put complimentary offerings together in a sensible manner
- Position your marketing efforts correctly, both online and on-site, through the use of popups, banners, email marketing, and signage at front desks, in-room guest information books, and kiosks
- Familiarize staff, concierge, and sales team members with every product and service available
- Teach staff members how to ask for, and close, the upsell or cross sell
Consumers should see add-ons offered at multiple touch points: While they are browsing and researching online, after they’ve selected their options, but before they have completed their purchase.
One advantage that hospitality businesses have over online travel agents (OTAs) or airlines is on-site opportunity. Once the guest in on premises, he or she is absorbed in the experience. This is especially true of leisure travelers.
Place a banner or advertisement at the front desk describing inviting offers, such as an in-room massage or sunset cocktail hour, with an open bar and Hors d'oeuvres. Tired travelers arriving for check-in will often find these offerings appealing enough to prompt an immediate purchase.
Likewise, airport transfers, private tour guides, activities and tours, children’s activity centers, child care, and souvenirs are all great for front desk or lobby upsells.
Other possible revenue streams include room upgrades, yoga or meditation classes, bicycle rentals, limousine services, conference rooms, business services, and more.
Position special deals throughout all main points of interaction with your customers: on your website, on social media, within your welcome text message or confirmation email, and at front desk, during check-in, or any point-of-sale service desk.
Finally, don’t forget about corporate travelers, especially the increasing number of millennials, who are reportedly more willing to tag on a leisure expedition at the end of a business trip.
Gear up your website
The great thing about cross-selling online is that you have so much data to work from. You can even automate your cross-selling opportunities, using data on what other buyers have bought, similarly to what Amazon has done with their ‘Customer’s who bought this item also bought’ or ‘frequently bought together' techniques.
Utilize big data
Big Data can allow a travel business to do more than just upsell or cross sell. Big Data means that an airline, hotel, or tour operator can give each customer an individual experience and, with that experience, strengthen the bond between their brand and the customer by increasing customer satisfaction and retention. Analyze the data and combine those findings with transactional data on previous consumer spend for a powerful edge over the competition.
Bundle offerings that fit well together, and attach an appealing price. The consumer will feel like they are saving on products or services they would likely want to buy anyway. Find the perfect price tag that feels like a bargain to your guest, while still earning a profit for your business.
Showcase your best package reviews in the checkout area of your website, in addition to your testimonial page.
Hospitality businesses can also consider playing a video behind the front desk, on the TV of the guest’s room, or in the lobby showing happy travelers enjoying local or in-house activities.
You don’t actually need a celebrity or thought leader to make expert recommendations; you can be the “expert” on your own destination - after all, you know your location and its offerings better than most.
Utilize your website blog or a local travel guide to make package recommendations to your clients including things to see and do in the area; bundle those packages and make them easily accessible online, by phone, or on-site at the front desk or concierge.