How to sell travel experiences to earn more? Traditional up-selling and cross-selling strategies and tools are no longer effective now that the travel & hospitality sector has completely changed.
After years of technological developments, marked first by the advent of the Internet and then mobile accessible to everyone, today we are at the point where travelers and travel operators work together to arrive at a fully customized travel experience tailored to the customer.
Companies in the sector, extra-hotel accommodation facilities, b&bs and hotels, have no alternative. They must give the customer a central role in organizing the holiday, but being careful not to lose value and gain.
So here are 3 strategies to sell tours and activities involving the customer and making him feel the protagonist of his journey.
The 5 things to know about the experience market
- Booking a trip is complicated! There are dozens of platforms and service providers that sell accommodation, flights and experiences. Nevertheless travelers still have great control over all phases of the organization thanks to the digital tools they have, such as mobile apps and social networks.
- In front of shrewd travelers on the one hand and ruthless competition on the other, the travel operators who wish to emerge or maintain their share of customers, must win the trust of the customer by offering him value: that is information, services, useful and tailored travel experiences. The time of the standard packages is definitively gone.
- For years the online travel market has snubbed the tour and activity sector. Expedia in the 90s opened to air connections while Booking was focused on expanding into the European hotel sector. Today, however, all the great travel leaders are expanding to travel experiences, with Airbnb leading the way.
- The development of the online tour and business sector is still slow. There are two reasons: the fragmentation of the offer among hundreds of tour operators and the diversity of travelers’ consumption habits. You yourself have noticed that some guests buy experiences a few days before arrival. While others wait for the last moment and book a few hours before the beginning of the tour. This creates many problems for online booking.
- The more travelers use travel apps to choose tours and activities rather than reception and information desks, the more opportunities there will be for operators in the sector to increase their earnings by selling travel experiences.
The 3 things to do to sell travel experiences
Now that you have a clear understanding of the criticalities of the travel experience sector, you can better understand how to sell them, starting with these three effective strategies.
1. Sell tours and activities along with other products
Offer travel experiences together with the services you usually offer. For example, Airbnb has worked hard to integrate Airbnb Experiences into its main product: houses and apartments, through the offer of recommended travel itineraries visible in the app.
Google gives travelers the opportunity to track their itinerary using its many online services, such as Google Maps where today there are recommendations on what to eat and what to do in a particular location.
On the new TripAdvisor social platform, travelers can save places and experiences to book at the right time.
If you manage bed & breakfasts, hotels, holiday farms or you are a property manager, you can create customized packages that include accommodation, external services and targeted experiences. The Accor group has gone further, creating a service platform that connects its hotels with other local operators, where those in Paris can discover experiences to do during their stay.
2. Customize your offer
Do you remember that at the beginning of the article we explained to you that today’s travelers participate in all stages of travel organization, helped by modern digital technologies?
Now that they have more power, travelers are not satisfied with standard solutions. That’s why you don’t have to offer guests services that they don’t want or that aren’t useful to them. Read this example to better understand: the customers do not want to waste more time framing check-in time, stay and departure with the experiences to do. For this reason they prefer to use a single technological tool to do more things.
For example, on our digital concierge app Edgar, the customers make the fast check-in before arrival, purchase the essential services immediately after booking and discover the travel experiences available in that destination. But they can also book a new stay right away.
3. Use the data to customize the experiences
Data analysis technologies now store an enormous amount of data, indispensable for up-selling and cross-selling services and experiences in the right way.
These tools are so advanced as to collect valuable insights on every moment of contact between you and the guest. The behavior of consumption changes according to the phase of the travel experience in which the customer is located: that of inspiration, the reservation, the stay, until the moment in which the guest has already returned home.
As a travel and hospitality professional, you need to have a complete and profound profile of your potential customers to answer various question categories about:
- travel habits. In which period of the year do they usually travel? How much do they spend on average? Do they prefer the last minute or do they plan well in advance? In this way you can identify which month it is best to send your offers or what percentage of discount to propose. Or even when it is better to suggest travel experiences: a week, a day, an hour before arrival …
- type of customer. Is it a family with children, a couple, retirees? By answering these questions you can make personalized proposals. What is the point in suggesting a vespa experience in the Tuscan hills or in Rome to a client with a wife and an infant son in tow?
- booking and payment methods. What kind of technologies do they use? Have they booked from the site or through an OTA? Do they prefer to pay in cash or by credit card? Only in this way you will understand which customers send push notification to, very useful to use for up-selling external services with Millennials or business travelers, less useful in the case of an elderly couple. Read here if you still don’t know what the push notification systems for accommodation are.
Do you have a b&b or small hotel?
You can sell experiences too. Surely you are wondering how to collect all these data, organize them and also propose beautiful experiences. Without considering the rest of the “more traditional” work. Here comes the digital technology, now essential to contact the guest through the same channel he used to find inspiration, book and travel: the smartphone.
If you don’t have travel experiences to propose or to offer them effectively, you can try Edgar Smart Concierge. Edgar is the digital concierge app for accommodation facilities that does many things: from automatic check-in to push notifications. Edgar also collects insights on searches and behavior in guest apps, so as to discover their preferences and adapt your proposals to their wishes.
Especially with Edgar you can up-sell services and experiences in a profitable way. Edgar, in fact, unlike other similar apps, integrates a marketplace of proprietary experiences, Guide Me Right. This means that you can offer customers hundreds of activities throughout Italy. Moreover in Sardinia it boasts the partnership with Escursì, leader in outdoor activities.
The guests of your b & b or of your small hotel will find on the personalized app both Edgar’s experiences and yours, located on the digital map or listed in the showcase, to select and buy in a few clicks directly on the smartphone. And for every purchase in the app you earn a commission.
You can try Edgar even today. It takes just a few minutes to create your free DEMO and test it for 30 days without restrictions. You’ll see immediately how to sell travel experiences effectively.