1. Build a Robust Cross Selling & Up Selling System
a. Cross Selling Network
As a hospitality asset investor / operator / owner, you must pro-actively partner with local non competing unique life enriching experiences / adventure outfits (local guides and bicycle / segway / walking / sight seeing services o
perators) and multi modal companies (car rentals, local radio taxi operators etc.) and cross sell these small local business’s services to your hotel guests. As quid pro quid, these outfits will promote your hotel to their clients, and maybe even integrated their workflow with your hotel’s loyalty programs and reward system. You will thus create a self fulfilling sales funnel that is consistent, collaborative and continuous.
If you don’t have reliable and robust local unique life enriching experiences / adventure outfits, h
ow about partnering with a local partner by seeding them with capital and guaranteed business to create an all inclusive experiential eco system in your destination thus retaining the total travel wallet of the experiential travellers. You might think that this is not your domain but guess what, you just might be wrong about forward and backward integration of your hospitality & travel services bandwidth.
b. Up Selling Network
As a hospitality asset investor / operator / owner, you must offer curated on the fly customisable tours packages by bundling your property with local experiential outfit to create a complete experiential holiday experience for both the residential guests, not only in your property but in the destination itself i.e. visitors. Some of the ways you can do this by creating combo packs.
A F&B picnic hamper made by the resort, and bundled with the local car rental and a local guide creates a F&B inclusive guided excursion that creates a great experience for your guests beside assisting you in retaining some of the tourist dollars that the guests would have spent outside on their food anyways.
Cross Selling & Up Selling Distribution Channels – Flyers, Hotel TV, Direct Selling & Loyalty Programs in your own hospitality assets, and on your resort / local outfit partners web sites
2. Create an in-house Experiential Marketing Platform
The question that arise is why not invest in conventional marketing alone? Because stand alone conventional print & newspaper, TV, PR, OOH, Radio and lately even printed flyers and other marketing vehicles are proving to be a waste of marketing dollars for a stand alone hospitality asset or experiential outfit. They have proven to be expensive cost centres that lately do not give commiserate retur
ns on m
arketing dollars – no bang for your bucks as they say.
To call a spade a spade, the cost of conventional advertisement is way more than the business they will generate
for your travel company i.e. you actually lose money when you advertise, which simply doesn’t make business sense unless you want to burn money to build a brand.
This results in a catch 22 situation, if you dont market your sales dwindles for new clients are important for co
nsistent sales – most leisure & GIT travellers likes to visit new destinations and not visit the same destination and stay in the same property all the time.
And if you do spend top dollars on marketing, your profit dwindles or is wiped out! So what do you do?…
a. Build Your Own Experiential & Digital Marketing Platforms & Agencies
At Ecomantra (www.ecomantra.com) we have collaborated with a few close partners to create a dedicated experiential marketing, events and festival company called ‘Indibreaks Experiential Productions‘.
Indibreaks than works as in-house Experiential Marketing Platform that actually generates revenue an
d work as a profit centre in the long run instead of the typical marketing cost centre as mentioned above.
Some of the unique experiential hospitality & outfits has also come together to create a collaborative experiential marketing platform cum agency that we call as ‘Luxexplorer Experiential Marketing Platform & Agency’ (LEMPA). LEMPA is where we have
- Merged all or some of our digital marketing platform including (Digital Marketing Technology / Email / SMS Getaways etc.)
- Merged our call centres for calling existing and new clients still works
- Merged our databases of clients and tremendously enhanced their fidelity and hence efficacy by enhancing and segmenting them using top of the line technology tool, and some good old fashion physical data management
- Hired professional in-house digital marketing & content creation experts (graphic, strategic, campaign, travel and blog writers) while outsourcing some (ATL / BTL / Activation) to ensure that LEMPA acts as a full spectrum experiential and digital marketing agency for its internal clients i.e. the partner
- Hired authentic experiential travel writers and entrepreneurs to curate & create content and authentic travel stories that works for the LEMPA partners both online as well as offline
- Combine our non performing services in shoulder and off season to create massive giveaways (free or huge discounts) that generates massive lead generation
- Create a common loyalty program backed by online professional loyalty program tools, which are very expensive to build and operate for a single asset / outfit but very viable if 5 to 10 partners are sharing the cost.
Indibreaks and LEMPA not only empowers you to create a robust marketing platform that enables you to present all your travel content in one place in a highly concentrated format but considerably increases your business and supplier network, enhances your travel content, and hence expands your sales funnel, and your hospitality asset / outfit’s Branding and PR in the trade and among
the potential experiential travellers.
We urge you to create a similar alliance or experiential marketing platform for the future of travel is to collaborate with other hospitality, travel & life style companies instead of looking upon them as competitors alone. This way you reduce your distribution cost, enhance your outreach and amplify your travel content resulting in more business for everybody.
In today’s business environment, very often money is made not by simply selling but also by saving money (a penny here, a cent there) thus increasing your profits while reducing the cost of your hospitality and lifestyle services for your guests, which in turn increases your saleability.
b. Create Your Hospitality Asset / Outfit / Travel Company’s Trip Ambassadors
There is no marketing like word of mouth to market your products and services and that explains for t
he tremendous success of review
sites like Tripadvisor. This straight from the horses mouth route if proactively
managed, encouraged and suitably rewarded will conquer this route’s slow organic growth problem to create a most effective and strongest pull marketing platform.
For this to work effectively, its critical to unify all your client touch points and capture all relevant guest data right from lead generation to post trip marketing to enable you to see the whole picture for a truly effective individual marketing strategy to the client.
In the 21st century you cannot divide your target audience in a few sector and tailor make a few variations that you execute. You actually have to create a dedicated, accurate and automatic marketing strategy for each client separately and market the travel services that you are sure they will love for sure. And importantly market to them at the time when they actually seek a travel service instead of spamming them with a holiday emailer, when they have just returned from an holiday or has already visited the destination that you are marketing to them.
For this to truely work your email campaign system needs to have drip marketing features, which than needs to be tightly integrated with your property management system, your guest loyalty program, your restaurant and other POS system and any other system that you use – you need to know how the guest likes to be contacted, how did they choose what they chose, what their food and activity preferences are and most importantly what is their preferred ways to keep in touch with you, and when.
Once you get the tech right than you will feel very nice and smart about rewarding your actual guests with special rates or extras thrown in, and make them feel special versus spending throwing money on conventional channels to keep creating a new sales funnel. The best part is you are only spending on your existing clients and that too when an actual sales is generated instead of simple curiosity driven hundreds of paid for clicks on ads that do not translate into business.
One of the most important target audience that you must seek for special systems are those stay at home or part time moms and women entrepreneurs cum travel lovers, who are as capable as full time employees but are presently busy in multiple roles in life and only available as per their time schedules. Create a system where you handsomely reward them via loyalty programs and sales commissions to proactively market your resort and travel services.
So if any extremely well trained men or women wants to leave your company, you know what to do – you simply transform them in to entrepreneurs that knows your product like the back of their hand.
3. Sales & Marketing on OTA’s & Ecommerce Websites
a. Your In-house Ecommerce enabled Travel Website/s
Now that anybody can buy an professional look and feel wordpress template and integrate a payment gateway and a channel manager on the fly, its imperative that you create your own ecommerce enabled travel websites, and perhaps websites to capture the looking for your kind of resort and travel audience on the web audience and help them buy your services on the Do It Yourself (DIY) model without any human intervention.
This results in a cheap, quick and very fulfilling for your client sales system that fills your room as if by magic, and its really nice to receive an automatic sms from the channel manager and payment gateway informing you that while you were eating your dinner, you just sold a room.
Partner (Online Travel Agencies) OTA
Despite your own ecommerce enabled website, you ofcourse have to still partner with multiple OTA’s and even non travel ecommerce companies for their website’s discoverability is extremely high because of the huge amount of travel services they sell. Typically they do more actual transactions per day than you will do in the whole year and its an important way to market your travel services to traveller actually seeking travel services.
Our experience with OTA is that instead of partnering with 30, its best to partner with only 5, and even than create that special relationship with one OTA with whom you can build a two way relationship. They need dependable suppliers who gives them preference and lower rates, you need a powerful front end who gives you business.
Often the traveller actually discovers you on an OTA but choose to buy from your own website because of the new trend of look on the OTA but buy directly from the supplier mindset that the new generation traveller has to cut unnecessary middlemen from the chain.
The future of any business is direct to client sans middleman, use marketing dollars very judiciously and use as much technology as is available to make sense of big data. Sooner or later you will have to do this. Sooner is way better idea than later.
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