How can hotels make extra money while at the same time offering their guests a much better tourism experience? Irish firm Staypal has built a solution.
With higher expectations from tourists, social media and the threat from Airbnb, hotels are having to rethink their guest experience. Gerry Hanratty, CEO of Staypal, a travel technology company, wants to put the hotel “at the centre of the tourist’s experience.”
It all started with aeroplanes
The price of a flight from Milan to Paris was €400 in 1992; it is €25. A large contributor to falling airfares is due to ancillary fees such as baggage and allocated seats allowing basic fares to be reduced. Staypal is developing technology to open up new ancillary revenue opportunities to the hotel sector. “We are not suggesting that hotel staff roam the corridors selling scratch cards but rather connect guests with tours, activities, and services that generate revenue,” says Hanratty.
The old way of doing things is stale
When a guest needs to contact the front desk at a hotel they have two choices; they can go down to the front desk or call on the phone but is this the best experience for a guest? How hotels engage with their guests is changing; communicating with SMS or Facebook messenger will overtake the standard in-room phone when a guest needs something. Staypal is taking this trend and enhancing it by facilitating bookings for activities in and outside the hotel during these guest conversations.
“By focusing on the lasting guest experience, not just the transactional check in and out, you’re responding to the needs of today’s tourist.”
Making money from other things than rooms
Traditionally hotels are busy managing room rates and availability across multiple web channels such as Booking.com. While technology has enabled hotels to manage rooms rates, this has been to the detriment of a focus on the ancillary revenue opportunities. The brochure stand in a hotel lobby is the epitome of the offline friction that exists for tourists today. If a guest wants to book a tour they often need to contact the tour company and await a reply.
The hotel at the centre of the tourist experience
It’s very evident from Airbnb’s recent acquisitions (Rezy for restaurants and Trip4Real for activities) how guest expectations are evolving. A tourist’s demands no longer stop at lodgings. They have expanded into a desire for great holiday experiences.
People trust their hotels
Hotels are the most trusted place for a tourist to get a recommendation on what to do or where to eat while on holidays. The hotel can now connect the guest directly with their recommended partners and control the transaction on their website so that they get to earn a piece of the revenue generated. It’s not only revenue from activities outside the hotel that can be increased. The hotel can look at new ways to engage with guests within the hotel. The hotel may know local service providers near the hotel that could curate new events within the hotel property such as food tastings or yoga classes.
Business or pleasure?
The opportunity for ancillary revenue doesn’t need to be limited to leisure tourists. A significant push is currently on to sell Ireland to business travellers. Using a service such as Irish company Meetingsbooker, hotels can earn additional revenue by filling excess meeting rooms. Business travellers may not spend the same amount as leisure tourists on fun activities, but they will pay a premium for convenient services such as Airport transfers or room service.
More revenue and happier guests
Ancillary revenue is a simple equation: the more you can offer a guest the better their experience will be, adding up to more revenue generated. By focusing on the lasting guest experience, not just the transactional check in and out, you’re responding to the needs of today’s tourist, with the expert local knowledge that helps you curate their experience, making an excellent result for the industry and the customer.