Enhancing the guest experience and increasing revenue: two top priorities for many hotels and other accommodation providers. The good news is that they don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive activities. In fact, hoteliers don’t necessarily even have to choose which to focus on first.
Because one of the most effective revenue boosters for properties today is also a significant guest-experience enhancer — and it doesn’t require a great deal of extra time or effort to pull off.
We’re talking about selling local experiences to guests. Here’s a look at why it works and how it’s done.
Why selling local tours represents a huge opportunity for properties
Simply put: local tours and activities represent ancillary revenue that’s basically there for the taking.
Fewer than 20% of local tours are bookable online, according to this PhocusWire article. So, if travelers want to purchase these local experiences (and they do — see below for evidence), they will go through other channels to do so.
According to a new consumer report, only one traveler in four plans to book all their activities ahead of their travel date — which means that 76% of travelers intend to book activities when in their travel destination. And in fact, 85% of activities are indeed booked on location.
And last but not least, local tours and activities can be a relatively easy upsell; travelers already want to engage with the local scene. One study found that 98% of respondents believe that it was important to have a “local experience” in a new city.
Why the accommodation itself is the best place for guests to buy local tours and activities
Property owners and managers are often the top experts in two areas of information crucial to selling local experiences: their guests’ preferences, and their location’s best offerings.
In other words, hotels and other accommodation providers are perfectly positioned to connect their guests to the ideal local tour or activity — and boost their ancillary revenue in the process.
Combine this unique advantage with the fact that most tours and activities are not bookable online, as well as the guest’s predilection for purchasing local experiences after arriving at their destination, and you can see why it just makes sense for hotels to offer their guests tours and activities for purchase.
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How can properties take advantage of local tours and activities to boost revenue?
The easiest way for a hotel to get in on the action of selling local experiences is to partner with local tour operators and activity providers. In this case, the partner takes care of designing and providing the experience, while the property receives referral fees or commissions.
When it comes to actually selling these experiences to guests, one way is to bundle a local tour or activity with the room itself, creating an enticing package deal to promote online and increase occupancy.
And when these package deals are available on the property’s website, it’s a great way to encourage direct bookings.
Another way to sell these experiences is as add-ons, which can be communicated to travelers via the hotel website, as well as upon the guest’s arrival and during their stay.
What if there are no businesses offering local tours or activities in your location?
For those properties located in areas without local tour providers, there’s always the option of creating your own.
A customized local outing or activity designed and run by a hotel exclusively for its guests will make for an especially unique experience, which is key.
A few tips for properties about selling local experiences
Keep your local experience offerings up to date with the season or events. Guests will want to know about, and be able to experience, unique festivals, special seasonal activities, and other uncommon happenings.
Be in contact with your local DMO (Destination Marketing Organization) to learn about and stay up to date on the most current and best tours or activities you can sell.
Make sure to have descriptions on your website of the tours you offer, whether they are part of package deals or available as add-ons. It’s a great way to improve the quality and SEO of your official website. Even if travelers are more likely to book activities on location, they’ll start searching for local experiences early in their travel planning. By having on your website descriptions of the local experiences you offer, you can greatly improve your property’s online visibility.
Request feedback from your guests on their local tours and activities. If possible, also find out before they arrive what sort of local experiences they may wish to have while staying with you. This will help you personalize and improve your local offerings.
Ensure your location details are accurate on trivago. Millions of travelers come to trivago to find their ideal hotel in their destination of choice. When that destination is your city or region, you’re going to want to make sure you appear in their search results. If you want to have the chance to sell guests your local experiences — not to mention a room — they’ve got to be able to find you first.
Click the button below to review and edit your property’s location – and all your property details as they appear on your profile on trivago.
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Do you already offer your guests local experiences and have some insights to share? Please feel free to do so in the comments section below!