• Cyril McAree

Maximising Profitability Throughout The Customer Journey

Clio O’Gara, Country Manager Ireland, Guestline on maximising profitability throughout the customer journey;

"From the moment a guest books they are in the palm of your hopefully profitable hands. But how and when can you ensure that you are reaching your revenue goals and realising the potential of the all-important upsell at every moment along the customer journey?

Let’s be honest, upselling is nothing new – hoteliers and hospitality operators have been doing it for years. A glass of champagne before dinner, flowers in the room and beauty treatments are all firm favourites in a revenue manager’s arsenal. But the real profit opportunity comes at the point of booking with the all-important room upgrade. Understanding your customer and marketing to them appropriately via bespoke website imagery and email communication is key to achieving success. There is no doubt that guests are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to researching and choosing a room option. They have a wealth of direct websites, OTAs and review websites at their disposal and they like to think they are in the driving seat, especially if you offer guests the opportunity to bid for an upgrade. But, these are your rooms and it is your revenue. It is up to the hotelier to hold on to the steering wheel and make all opportunities work effectively.

We have recently partnered with UpsellGuru – an online system that enables hotels to offer guests the opportunity to bid online for an upgraded room. As the hotelier you set the price point boundaries and maintain control. For example, ideally you’d like to sell an upgrade for €50 but you’ll settle for €35 because this is still comfortably within your profit margin. Chances are the guest will pay €35 thinking they’ve got the better end of the bargain. An efficient way of keeping bookings moving and increasing your RevPAR. Everyone’s a winner.

When you are listing your cheapest room-only option, the only way is up. Whilst this might be the most popular product initially, it also carries value in having the most potential. To make the most of this, understanding the customer journey and when to sell is also key. Don’t bombard your guests at the point of upgrade – they are doubtless just coming to terms with the fact that they have spent more money than planned on accommodation. Instead consider marketing additional options like a bottle of champagne in the room or a discounted spa treatment a couple of days before arrival when their thoughts will be turning towards their forthcoming stay. Tempting as it may be to offer all your upgrade options upfront and at once, our advice would be to cherry-pick the options that you think would most appeal to that particular guest. Bespoke communications in the lead up to check-in and during their stay are a way to keep the guest engaged and build loyalty.

Ensure your staff understand what the benefits and amenities are available and when to offer them. Striking the right balance between effective staff training and partnering with a technology provider that can manage the upsell process online during the pre-arrival stage is key. This ensures that no opportunities are missed before arrival so that when guests do check-in they are met with staff who are focused on welcoming and informing guests rather than seeing it solely as a sales opportunity. Relaxed and happy guests are more inclined to upgrade with additional amenities during their stay. Excitingly this may include another stay at a later date – thereby protecting future profitability as well. What could be more efficient than that?" For more information please visit www.guestline.com

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