Boosting revenues through guest room differentiation

Apples and orangesOne of the key drivers for alternate lodgings is that many customers are just bored by the standard room presentations offered by hotels. They don’t want cookie-cutter accommodations. They yearn for uniqueness, if only to make their experiences more memorable.

With a good sense of how this ‘personalization revolution’ affects not only service delivery but also your physical product, you can build a plan to steadily grow revenues through further guest room segmentation through what has been dubbed as ‘attribute-based selling’ and more expressive pre-arrival sales tactics.

Personalization through guest room differentiation

Many hotels think that a property should only have a handful of clearly demarcated room types to be selected based mostly upon bed type – twin doubles, twin queens, kings, junior suites and whatever name is given to the multi-room villas. Attribute-based selling and even the selection of a specific room lets you to get more granular with what features are displayed to possibly influence price.

As an example, an intuitive attribute already universally deployed to heighten revenues is the guestroom view. Oceanview, garden view, sunset view, high floor, low floor or parking lot view – all should be leveraged to tweak the nightly rate of each exact room. A business client on a per diem will not necessarily care about having a downtown skyline view and might therefore go for the slightly reduced room rate on a low floor. But I would bet that a couple celebrating its anniversary would indeed care about augmenting the romance of the occasion with a panoramic vista of the city. And this couple would undoubtedly be willing to spend a few extra bucks for this by selecting a room that guaranteed it.

The incorrect time to introduce this attribute-based selling or the possibility of upgrading a guestroom, however, is during check-in. It’s too late to maximize your first impression and to further customize the hotel experience because guests will feel that they are being pressured into a sale.

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Instead, any upsell or specific room selection must be done during or shortly after a guest makes his or her booking. An easy extension here that goes beyond viewpoint preferences would be proximity to services and amenities. For instance, resorts are renowned for upselling customers on where suites are relative to the beach, but who is to say that urban hotels can’t also individualize the room reservation process by, say, prompting guests to decide if they want a room that’s closer or farther from the elevator? Similarly, hotels can segregate floors within a tower and then develop tiered levels of service with additional charges for each.

Selling every feature

Using room details and their physical positions to develop new subsegments makes you think of all the other aspects of the guest journey that can be monetized. Prompting customers at the time shortly after the initial booking allows you to better prepackage add-ons like club floor access, food and beverage, spa treatments, classes, tours or gifts.

And it’s not just about what a customer ultimately purchases, but also what he or she doesn’t buy. As an example, imagine you run a semi-remote mountain resort and a couple buys your gourmet getaway package. Once guests have selected their room type, the booking engine invites them to also procure a food platter or alcoholic beverage, to be placed in the room upon arrival. Next, suppose this same gourmet getaway couple doesn’t select any of the additional F&B choices but instead opts for something more experiential, like a wellness hiking tour. This can indicate that perhaps with all the other prepackaged meals in the bundle, the guests want something aside from just food.

Knowing these sorts of characteristics about your guests in advance means you aren’t leaving money on the table in the form of room upgrades or merchandise sales. These personalized enhancements, for the booking engine or otherwise, are ultimately what personalization is all about, so start using technology to find these new streams of revenue and your property’s future will be bright.

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