Ancillaries and Their Role In Creating A Customer Experience
For a long time hoteliers have been looking for ways to provide extra value to their guests experience in order to create more satisfied customers. For many years this came in the form of room upgrades, discounts at local hot spots and a knowledgeable concierge service. In recent years the concept of ancillaries has become somewhat of a buzzword, so what role do they play in the customer experience and why should this matter to hoteliers?
There is no doubt that the global travel industry has seen a trend towards selling experiences over the more material aspects of a holiday, which is a natural progression. This trend has been fuelled by many factors, one of which is social media. Guests are in pursuit of activities and experiences that align with the idealistic lifestyles of social media influencers, and ancillaries are a way that accommodation providers can deliver on that desire.
So why should ancillaries by front of mind for hoteliers? Whilst these used to simply be extra’s that were offered to guests upon check in, the role of such value adding elements in the overall customer experience has grown. In a highly competitive marketplace these ancillaries are a way that brands can distinguish themselves from competitors and are key in providing guests with a well-rounded travel experience that they talk about for years to come.
In an era where convenience is king there is a high value placed on the ability to walk down to your hotel lobby and tap into a wealth of local knowledge. Aside from helping hoteliers in building a satisfied customer base, getting serious about ancillary offerings can generate a new revenue stream. Hoteliers can capitalise by partnering with local vendors to provide discounts on day tours, dinner reservations and even beauty treatments. Not only does this result in an outstanding customer experience, but it can also be a brand building exercise where accommodation providers can build associations with likeminded local brands.
The next question is, in what ways can hotels become more active in selling ancillaries? With guests seeking more digital integration during their stay, technology plays a big role. Giving guests access to ancillaries through your website or app is a great way to add value whilst still ensuring it is convenient for the customer. However, it is important to balance digital touchpoints with human interaction, otherwise the service element may be lacking.
Another budding trend is the assignment of customer experience officers. Whilst this role may not be feasible for small boutique brands, for larger national or international chains having someone to focus on enhancing the guest experience can make all the difference. Having a dedicated team member to seek out and vet unique experiences is an asset to any accommodation organisation.
In whichever way you choose to be involved, shifting your focus to your ancillary offerings will be beneficial to your property. Adding that extra bit of value to make your guests’ stay an experience can elevate your brand and result in more satisfied customers, which we all know is good for business.