In the never-ending challenges faced by hotels to maximize the return from every guest who stays under their roof, there is much effort by many hoteliers to encourage direct booking. As effective as those measures may be, there is still much more which can be done to offset GDS and OTA distribution fees. Some hotels in fact are increasing revenues in highly creative ways, as opposed to more traditional methods. Hotel restaurants, room service, pay-per-view TV and mini-bar sales for example are ancillary revenue-drivers that have served the hospitality industry well in the past. But the extremely competitive marketplace of today requires a greater level of innovation than the former methodology of bygone times.
There are several prerequisites to the endeavor of generating greater hotel ancillary revenue. There must be an effective revenue management strategy already in place to begin with. The nature of the market prevents merely raising room rates as the simple answer. In light of that fact, several essential questions must be asked regarding the nature of the hotel property which requires some inward reflection. To begin, is there anything that sets the hotel uniquely apart?
For example, a hotel’s location within a destination can impart the property with certain advantages which can be capitalized on. A hotel can partner with attractions and local events to put together tour and event packages to offer to hotel guests. Another question to ask, what unique features, services or amenities offered by the hotel stand out and bring guests back again after drawing them to the property to begin with? These kinds of self-examination questions can readily provide ideas for ancillary revenue generation solutions.
Hotels with restaurants can offer guests an opportunity to attend cooking classes with their chef. This is an example of an idea that elevates the hotel dining experience while generating ancillary revenue for the property. Many hotels feature pools and workout facilities. Offering hotel guests private yoga or workout classes at those on-property amenities can be a way of monetizing them.
An upgraded room or suite does not necessarily have to mean a larger one physically. Some hotel guests are willing to pay extra for such things as luxury bedding and high quality toiletry items, or even welcome baskets stocked with wine, cheese and other snacks. Another idea is to feature the work of local artists in each room which guests can purchase through the hotel. This is positive for everyone in that artisans gain exposure for their work, travelers can bring home a true souvenir from their stay, and hotels gain revenue by bringing artist and patron together.
In seeking to garner ancillary revenue, the concept for hoteliers should be, to think of the hotel as much more than merely a place to stay, but someplace that offers the possibility of an experience unto itself.