NB: This is an article from Leonardo
In a recent article, we introduced you to the idea of starting to think beyond selling hotel rooms and uncover ways to generate ancillary revenue online. We shared how hotel chains like Marriott and Westin have been doing this for some time, primarily by selling their bedding.
Individual properties (both branded and independent) are also getting creative with ancillary revenue generation, promoting everything from their on-site dining and spa services, to selling wine, hotel branded swag/novelty items and gift certificates online.
Every hotel is unique and so are its revenue generation opportunities. That’s why there’s no definitive guide to generating ancillary revenue. There are, however, creative and effective opportunities that we’re seeing hotels put in to action that may inspire you to find your own ancillary revenue ideas. Here are a couple examples.
Turn Guestrooms into Art Galleries
It’s not uncommon to see artwork by local artists decorating hotel hallways and lobbies and available for sale in gift shops. Now, hotels are taking local artwork one step further and transforming guestrooms to mini-galleries, inviting guests to purchase the artwork they see featured in their rooms when they check out.
This article talks about some hotels that are doing this, including the Omni Dallas hotel, stating that it “features more than 6,500 original pieces of art from 150 local artists in guest rooms and public spaces. The art is one of the reasons the property doesn’t feel like every other hotel stayed in on past vacations. It also gives guests the option of taking a bit of Texas culture home with them.”
One way to maximize the revenue you can generate from local artwork is to also sell the art online by adding ecommerce functionality to your hotel website or by launching a dedicated art website and cross-promoting it with your hotel website – this way you’re expanding your reach beyond your guests. The Claremont Inn & Winery is a similar example only with wine instead of art. They feature and sell their wine at the property and also make it available for sale on their website.
Aim to Entertain
All-inclusive resorts are renowned for selling tickets for local tours, attractions, entertainment and events to guests as a way to generate ancillary revenue. Hotels can take advantage of this lucrative opportunity by collaborating with local events and attractions to offer discounted tickets or packages to guests while taking a small commission.
Take a look at the Book Now page on the Rushmore Express Inn & Suites’ website. You’ll see that it’s not your typical hotel booking engine. Yes, it enables guests to easily book a room at the Rushmore but it also enables visitors to book air and ground transportation, as well as buy tickets to local activities and attractions, everything from Crazy Horse Memorial, to Big Thunder Gold Mine, to the National Presidential Wax Museum.
Another option is to use your on-site events and entertainment to entice guests to attend an event, book a hotel stay or dine in your restaurant. Here are a couple hotels that do this well.
The Lufra Hotel and Apartments hosts a Saturday Live music event and offers a discounted weekend package for those who wish to stay, dine and enjoy the music. They have a dedicated page on their website that highlights the details of the musical performance and the hotel package.
The ZLoft Hotel has daily specials in their hotel bar that they leverage to generate more restaurant revenue. They’ve created a dedicated page on their website that includes details about each of the daily specials and events from Wing Night Monday to Ladies Night Saturday.
The next step is to explore your options for promoting and selling your product or service online, on either your hotel’s website or a dedicated website (or both).