The Right Timing for Offering Travelers Trip Extras
Research shows that timing makes a difference when hoteliers offer extras. Business and leisure travelers differ on the extras they're interested in, but the ways in which they are willing to take advantage of them are similar.
A new white paper titled Business Travelers and their Demand for Ancillary Services, commissioned by iSeatz, a technology company providing ancillary booking solutions, and researched by Phocuswright, shows that timing when offering ancillary services is just as important as the services themselves.
The paper is a companion piece to an earlier white paper on leisure travelers and ancillary services.
“Hotels have a great opportunity to enhance their guests’ satisfaction by offering a relevant set of products to fulfill their end-to-end travel needs” said Kenneth Purcell, CEO & Founder of iSeatz, “Making compelling ancillaries available is the first step, then implementing a strategy to drive guest awareness of the new capabilities ultimately ensures the program’s success. ”
Services that [business] travelers would like to secure at the time of booking include high-speed Wi-Fi (41%), parking (41%), early check-in (40%), and prepaid breakfast (37%). Trip cancellation insurance and extra loyalty club points in particular represent low-hanging fruit, with a relatively high proportion of online business travelers interested in booking these services pre-trip (45% and 39%, respectively). Such services are easy to add virtually within the hotel chain’s online booking process. For other ancillary goods and services, online business travelers clearly stated they prefer to book later in the trip, typically when on-property as they consume the product/service. These services include non-breakfast dining (32%), in-room dining (30%), on-property business services (30%) and in-room entertainment (28%). From the pattern of responses, it’s clear that matching the appropriate offer to the correct stage of the trip cycle is vitally important in terms of driving sales of additional ancillary goods and services. — Business Travelers and their Demand for Ancillary Services
How business and leisure travelers differ in their preferred ancillaries
Business travelers are interested in more pragmatic trip extras from hotels, eliminating inconveniences from their trip. At the top of their list are such items as access to high speed wifi, prepaid breakfasts or other meals, and parking.
Leisure travelers are more interested in exploring their destination. They want to go sightseeing and learn about dining options. The top services on leisure traveler lists include on-property dining, early check in/ late check out, and museum and attraction tickets.
Leisure travelers prefer receiving offers from an in-person concierge, while business travelers favor text messaging.
Out of the surveyed leisure travelers, 13 percent were interested in opting in for text messages, 12 percent were interested in opting in for notifications through the hotel app, and only 7 percent were interested in receiving push notifications.
Hotels face challenges when it comes to offering travel extras. Key hotel chain executives who were interviewed cited technology, information sharing and employee incentivizing as stumbling blocks, along with the cost of implementation.