A thing or two the hotel industry can learn from Amazon

With the current COVID-19 situation spinning out of control, Black Friday this year could take on a whole new meaning in the hospitality industry. How do we prepare for this? With occupancy rates that are very low at the moment, we have the perfect opportunity to look at innovative new strategies.

In this post, we’ll look at whether or not the hotel industry could learn a thing or two from Amazon.

Why Amazon?

The average time between someone browsing a site and purchasing is around 20 days. That applies to both retailers and the hospitality industry. The difference, though, is how the two industries act in the interim.

Do you actively try to nurture those potential leads, or do you leave them by the wayside? If your answer is the latter, it’s time to improve that strategy.

Since we are looking to the ecommerce industry for advice, it makes sense to get that advice from the retailer that dominates the market—Amazon.

Start by reducing the time it takes to book a room

With Amazon, you have the option of enabling one-click purchases. It seems like a silly thing because it’s only saving the client a few seconds. Yet, it’s credited with being one of the reasons that Amazon has risen to dominance.

Think about it this way—your guests see the room, they love it, and they want to book. Then they have to work their way through three or four screens to pay. While they wait for each screen to load, they’ve got a split-second to change their minds.

Consider adding a “Book Now in One Easy Step” button.

That button should lead them to one page where they can input everything and book. Once the booking is made and been paid for, they’re less likely to pull out.

Consider other revenue streams

Amazon started as a bookseller. Over the years, it has included magazines, periodicals, art supplies, and just about anything else you can think of.

How could the hotel industry cash in on potential new revenue streams themselves? Particularly in a COVID-19 world?

What about offering virtual tours of your city? You could use something like a travel show format and provide overviews of the different sights, and in-depth looks at some of the more interesting ones. Think of it as a bus tour conducted virtually.

You would need to use decent quality equipment if you wanted to charge people, but it’s an idea that has merit. With many people in lockdown, this could offer a glimpse of the world. It’s a one-off project that could generate passive income for the hotel for several years.

One day, when COVID-19 is finally gone, these videos could help to inspire new travelers.  

Other ideas might be to create a range of online cooking courses, or decorating classes, cleaning classes—you get the idea. Create courses using the skills that you already have at hand. You can opt to charge for some and not for others.

Get creative—guests in beds aren’t your only source of income.

You could also put that wide network of contacts that you have to good use. Alternatively, why not speak to your contacts about some type of affiliate commission for referring business to them? You could build up a fair amount of passive income by listing suppliers on your site and negotiating special deals with those suppliers for clients that you refer.

Another diversification option includes using the assets that you already have. Do you have industrial washing machines? Do you have industrial steamers for ironing facilities? Perhaps offering industrial cleaning services might be one way to cope during the pandemic.

Final notes

Some of the ideas that we’ve gone through above might seem a step too far for you. That’s fine. The point is that hotels will need to look at alternative ways to boost their incomes. Hopefully, this post has sparked some new ideas that you can make work for you.

Remember Amazon’s primary lesson—there are many ways to make money, don’t pigeonhole yourself into using just one. 


Tags: Amazon, bookings, revenue streams


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