When does a journey start? When the guests finally arrive at the hotel? When do they arrive at the airport? Or, months before they have set out when they get the booking confirmation from your hotel?
A journey starts way before the actual arrival. This is exactly why the pre-arrival stage is so important and yet so woefully ignored.
Most hoteliers do not consider the pre-arrival stage to be a part of the customer service experience at all. And this is exactly why they lose out on revenue. Did you know that maximum cancellations happen because hotels don’t perform any follow-up between the time of reservation to the time of check-in?
And losing out on guests isn’t your only concern. By not interacting with the guests in the pre-arrival stage, you are also losing out on a splendid opportunity to upsell your products. How to remedy this? Keep reading to find out.
Why the Pre-Arrival Stage Is So Important to Upsell Your Products:
Manage Guest Expectations from the Beginning
Guests make their selection of hotels on the basis of a few photos and, at the very most, a few videos. But you can step up your game immensely by giving them a virtual 3-D tour of your hotel. You can even walk them through your hotel and show them the property in real-time. This is a great way to manage customer expectations.
Why is this important? Because there is no way to please or console a customer who arrived with the completely wrong idea about the property. No matter how hard you try, all your attempts to impress the customer will prove futile if the customer arrives expecting something completely different.
Though your photos may not be deceptive, they can definitely be outdated. This is why it is a great idea to actually interact with the guest and give them a transparent view of the property before they decide whether to book a room or not.
Convince Them to Upgrade to Better Rooms
Familiarizing the guests with the hotel also gives you a wonderful opportunity to upsell your products. For example, they might be convinced to upgrade themselves to a better or larger room after they have received a virtual tour of your hotel. Guests often upgrade themselves to rooms with better views once they have received a taste of the actual scenery. These upgrades are much easier to manage earlier than later when the majority of the rooms are already booked. There’s less shuffling about to be done if the rooms are upgraded in advance.
Utilize the Perfect Upsell Timing
You can also upsell various other features of your hotel by familiarizing them with these products before the check-in. Why is it better to upsell before the check-in? Because it’s easier to convince people to make changes to their travel schedules when they are in the process of making an itinerary. If they get to know early on that your hotel has a cheese-tasting session on the weekends, they are more likely to accommodate it into their schedule.
Convincing guests to make changes to their already set itineraries after their arrival is much more difficult.
Promote Personalized Tour Plans
You can also upsell entire itineraries, that is, the travel plan. For example, you can send your guests a questionnaire after the booking confirmation to find out their travel preferences. Then, based on these preferences, you can offer them the travel plan which will suit them the best. Family crowds and honeymoon couples often prefer to go for pre-made itineraries because this eliminates the headache of planning everything by themselves.
Keep Special Requirements in Mind
Last but definitely not least, you can and absolutely should find out if your guests have any special requirements before their arrival. It should not be the guests’ responsibility to enquire whether your hotel is wheelchair accessible or has a menu suitable for those on special diets for medical reasons.
It’s your responsibility as the host to make sure you have the preferences of all your individual guests in mind. After all, you don’t want your guests to abandon your property in favor of another just because your restaurant isn’t equipped to serve guests with specific allergies, do you?
And in case you absolutely cannot cater to certain demands, make sure your guests know about this beforehand. Luring your guests in with false promises is a sure-shot way to lose revenue and get terrible reviews.
So, this is exactly why you should try to upsell and know your guests BEFORE they have arrived. Thankfully, a PMS like Stayflexi makes these pre-arrival interactions with your guests much easier. You can send them questionnaires, give them glimpses of your hotel’s products, and also convince them to be a part of your loyalty program from added perks through Stayflexi.
Wonder what other wonders Stayflexi has up its sleeve? Leave a comment below and we’ll let you know!