The pre-arrival stage in hotels is one of the key points during the customer journey that hoteliers can capitalize on to generate more revenue. This can be done through a series of targeted actions that we will discuss in more detail throughout this article. We will also look at what takes place during this phase and why it’s so important in order to optimize revenue.
We will look at upselling and cross-selling, as well as other marketing actions that will help take advantage of this stage in the guest journey to maximize revenue and to get the most incremental income from each booking.
What is the pre-arrival stage in hotels?
The pre-arrival stage in hotels is usually the time between when a guest books and before they arrive at your property – although it can also count the time before they’ve made the reservation. During this stage of the guest cycle, choices are highly influenced by word-of-mouth, previous experiences with your brand, location and a range of other factors.
This stage is an important time to educate your clients about all the services available at your hotel so that they will maximize the amount spent and thereby the revenue generated per booking, which ultimately will lead to a positive outcome in your hotel’s bottom line. It is the first contact you have with your guests once they book, so you want to make a positive first impression by making them aware of all the extras and upgrades available.
Whether it be transportation services, spa treatments, early check-in or interesting in-room features, the important thing once you’ve secured the booking is to remind your guests why they’ve made the right decision, and how they can make their stay even more comfortable. More comfortable for them translates into more revenue for your hotel.
Five ways to generate more revenue from the pre-arrival stage
Now that we’ve looked at what the pre-arrival phase is, let’s look at five simple ways to generate more revenue during this phase of the guest journey.
Upselling and cross-selling
There are many upselling and cross-selling possibilities between the time that the guest books and the time they arrive at your hotel, and it’s a great overall strategy for increasing ancillary revenue.
There are many ways to encourage guests to book extra services or upgrades. Much in the same way that airlines charge you more if you add luggage at the airport, you can use similar tactics for add-ons and upgrades – offer these services for a cheaper price if they book them prior to arrival.
During the booking process, offer extra services like transportation, early check-in, late check-out, restaurant reservations or cultural activities. The more services guests purchase before they arrive, the more incremental income for your hotel, and it’s also a great way to increase the average revenue per guest.
In this way, you will have not only the stage prior to arrival to generate additional income, but also time during their stay to increase the number of services purchased.
Know your guests
There is never a better time to get to know your guests than during the phase of the user journey which occurs before they arrive at your hotel.
Targeting guest profiles starts at the moment they book; by understanding what services they are booking and the reason for their trip, you will be able to better cater your offer to their needs. You can then create a series of emails to match each distinct guest profile, which can be used to upsell and offer services that might appeal to them so that it is more likely that your upsell tactics will be effective.
An optimized website
Once you’ve managed to attract visitors to your website, it’s important that the booking process is as clear as possible. By defining a clear process, and thinking about the user experience on your website, you can weave in upselling opportunities.
For example, you can offer a room feature comparison by putting two rooms side by side, which will make it clearer as to why they should book the more expensive option.
Have guests create an account in order to book, as this allows you to capture important information about preferences and needs. This way you can also target the upselling offers to meet their needs as well as important data that can be used during the trip and after.
Is it a family who can book an extra large room for a slightly higher price, or a business client who can book a room with extra fast Wi-Fi? Understanding who your guest is crucial to enhancing the guest experience before arrival and enticing them to spend more.
Create different touchpoints prior to arrival
Ensuring you have different touchpoints to connect with guests prior to their arrival is also a great strategy to increase revenue. Use a series of targeted emails where you can give guests the possibility to request special services or list their preferences. This will allow you to offer services that they are more likely to book, as well as give you the opportunity to make them feel special so that they become repeat guests.
The more you can entice guests to come back, the less acquisition costs you will have, and the more value can be attributed to each booking.
Manage your online reputation
You might think: how does managing my online reputation generate income? Of course, it doesn’t directly generate income, but having good reviews is key to generating business. The experience of past guests at your property might be just what potential clients need to push them over the edge to reserving at your hotel.
When monitoring your online reputation, be sure to be agile in your responses, responding to bad reviews just as quickly as you do to good reviews. Use your responses to both positive and negative reviews to highlight positive features and show how your hotel solves problems when needed. Furthermore, you can use the information provided in reviews to improve where you determine your hotel is falling short.
In this article we’ve looked at how to generate revenue during the pre-arrival stage directly by upselling and cross-selling, having an optimized website, knowing your guests, and indirectly by managing your online reputation and creating different touchpoints prior to arrival.
The key to generating more revenue during the phase prior to guests arriving at your hotel is connecting with your future clients. Understand what it is they need so you can offer targeted services that they are more likely to book and hence spend more money at your facilities.
17 December 2021
Check in with the latest in hospitality
Sign up to our monthly newsletter for industry insights, product news, partner offers and more.