At its core, hospitality is all about delivering great customer service.
Customers are the beating heart of their business and meeting guest expectations is seen as a basic prerequisite. Hoteliers never want to under-deliver on service. To do so would risk irking guests along with a strong possibility of hurting their revenue and reputation.
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For many hotels, promising early check-in and late check out runs such a risk that upselling those services would never be considered a reliable or significant source of revenue. And it’s understandable. Any room-based upselling requires time, coordination, and communication between departments to ensure the service can be delivered at no operational cost.
When it comes to check-in and late check-out the biggest challenge is that a hotel must know whether room inventory (or comparable room) will be available before an upsell offer can be made. For early check-in, previous guests need to have already checked out so the room is free – and similarly, for late check-out, hotels either need to know whether the room is not needed the following night or if there is a leeway to allow them to say an additional hour or two. With erratic check out behavior – including guests ‘ghosting’ the front desk – neither is easy to predict.
Both stay extension scenarios are also heavily reliant on housekeeping. For many hotels, the core housekeeping team is not a 24-hour operation. Therefore, on-the-floor staffing, dirty rooms count, and clean/inspection turnaround time must be taken into consideration. If everyone wanted a late checkout housekeeping, wouldn’t have enough time to clean the rooms to get them ready for the incoming guests. As most housekeeping staff do not work nights, the rooms need to be cleaned and ready before the day ends.
In many ways this is why standardized check-in and check-out times exist. To upsell a stay extension is really to break the standard check-in and checkout flow that has been set up to provide safe buffers. Stay extensions require synchronization between housekeeping, room allocation, and the front desk (guest arrival and departures). It is a complex and daunting task.
While hotels grant stay extensions on request regularly (especially for loyalty and VIP guests), most hoteliers would rather not dip their toe in those waters. A failure in coordination may lead to a poor customer experience.
But there is a way to offer early check in and late check-out minus the logistical headaches and poor customer experience. Automation.
Automation: Monetize the Predictable
The last two years has sharpened hoteliers focus on business viability and profit. Whereas in the past, owners were satisfied with an “all boats rise with the tide” approach to management, revenue generation is now critical. That’s why hoteliers are looking to monetize assets – like stay extensions – they may have previously given away for free. So they turn to upselling software.
Up until recently most upsell software solutions did not check inventory availability. They were simply offer systems collecting requests for later manual approval. But the best upselling software (such as ROOMDEX) leverages automation to forecast actual, operational inventory usage and status. Automation analyses inventory each day to identify unsold rooms that are candidates for early check-in and late checkout. Data points include occupancy by room type, departures and arrivals, housekeeping (and other operational resources) availability. The algorithm output provides offer availability, time range fencing and pricing. The result is monetization of guaranteed stay extensions with 100% operational confidence. There is no manual intervention needed, minimizing or effectively eliminating the risk of operational conflicts.
In a world where personalization of products and services is ubiquitous for consumers, automation delivers a bespoke stay experience that drives guest satisfaction.
Upsell the Opportunity
Over the past 18 months+ hotels have suffered massive losses and revenue managers are in a fight to recover pandemic revenue any way they can. Automated upselling of early check-in and late check-out offers real tangible way to drive consistent, reliable incremental revenue while increasing the guest experience quality!