The multiple (and often overlooked) advantages of separating out add-ons as part of the booking process
Bookassist has allowed hoteliers to offer additional services as part of the booking engine for many years. For example, hoteliers can offer spa treatments, room services, transport to and from the airport as additions during online booking. Hotels can group similar add-ons into categories and add photographs to make the whole offer more appealing. The obvious advantage here is that it allows hoteliers to upsell and generate additional revenue from the online booking process. Our figures show that add-ons are a significant ongoing earner for hotels.
But there are additional advantages to the use of add-ons other than the straightforward upsell advantage.
#1 Dynamic Packaging
Add-ons give the guest the freedom to dynamically package their stay, to pick and choose what they want. This freedom is something the guest welcomes online. But the success of this requires that the hotel is clever about what they are offering in their add-ons list compared to the basic room offer so that proper dynamic packaging is possible. Your account manager can help to adjust your online offering in terms of rooms and add-ons to make the total offering more easily packagable and attractive to the online customer.
#2 Promoting Competitive Rates
By smart use of add-ons, you can split out extra services and keep basic packages and room types listed at the lowest possible online rate, thus gaining a competitive advantage online. A room-only rate can be listed in the booking engine, keeping the initial offering clean, simple and uncluttered which reduces confusion and increases the conversion rate. Simple room rates then allow the upsell of add-ons to deal with any required extras. It keeps your room rates stripped back to a low entry cost and helps build more direct business rather than losing it to third parties or competitors who are adept at advertising low rates.
#3 Strong Advertising Value
A comprehensive and attractive list of add-ons in the booking engine also advertises what your hotel is capable of providing. Even if they are not purchased by a customer immediately as part of the booking process, the customer now knows the kind of service levels that are possible and forms a higher opinion of the hotel before they even arrive. A good add-ons list may be the very factor that convinces an undecided online booker to actually book. Furthermore, it sticks in the customer's mind what this hotel can now offer, and the next time they are looking for something like spa treatments, or that perfect gift for someone, they may remember what they saw detailed on the hotel's booking engine, giving you another competitive advantage in future sales.
For more details on optimising add-ons in your booking engine set-up, contact your Bookassist account manager.
Dr Des O’Mahony is CEO and Founder of Bookassist, the leading online strategy and technology partner for the hotel industry. Follow Bookassist on Twitter at twitter.com/bookassist