Four essential techniques for attribute-based selling success in hospitality
As I discussed in my previous article, attribute-based selling (ABS) is a transformative strategy by which hotels sell individualized experiences to guests, rather than one-size-fits-all packages. Under this model, each guest picks and chooses the amenities and add-ons that are most important to them, effectively building a more personalized stay.
ABS has distinct advantages over traditional, "bundled" selling models. For example, with ABS, hotels may price down some rooms so that they are more affordable (e.g., by forgoing daily housekeeping) and are less likely to remain vacant. Meanwhile, they can price up other rooms to varying degrees based on guest selections or attributes, such as desirable window views and proximity to certain amenities.
Traditional pricing models, platforms, and third-party relationships aren't readily conducive to ABS. So, what steps can hoteliers take to overcome these barriers to adoption and successfully make ABS a key revenue driver for their businesses?
1. Define and "unbundle" the attributes, add-ons, and premiums that make your guest experiences exceptional
To successfully sell attributes, hoteliers must first understand which attributes are most important to their guests and what those guests are willing to pay for them. This process begins with "unbundling" the various components of your guest experience.
For example, a hotel might offer a "basic" room that includes only a bed and bathroom, as well as "upgraded" rooms that include additional amenities like a minibar, coffeemaker, and free Wi-Fi, among other options. Some rooms may also be priced higher based on qualities such as size and location.
Once unbundled, hoteliers can visualize both attributes and guest preferences as data points, ideally within a dedicated omnichannel retailing platform. Hoteliers can determine attribute-based pricing by considering past-guest purchasing habits or competitive analysis of similar companies. Then, they can define the value propositions of their offerings and clearly present those to guests.
2. Partner with third parties to become a "total destination retailer"
As part of their ABS strategy, hoteliers can include attributes from other providers to create a more comprehensive array of services and experiences for guests. Examples range from local tour, transportation, or entertainment options to consumer-packaged goods that are included with their rooms.
A total destination initiative of this kind ensures guests achieve a more complete experience through single interactions with hoteliers' brands; it also ensures those brands capture a greater portion of their guests' "share of wallet" (i.e., generating additional revenue per guest) as a result.
3. Adapt your marketing and promotion efforts, putting attribute flexibility at the forefront
When marketing and promoting your attribute-based offerings, be sure to put the attribute flexibility front and center. For example, rather than simply promoting a "room with a view," highlight the fact that guests can choose their own view (e.g., oceanfront, city skyline). This type of promotion not only speaks to the attribute itself but also reinforces the unique selling proposition of ABS: customization and control.
This marketing approach is new; traditional methods were limited to the simplicity of bundled products. This change can make communicating the full extent of available attributes difficult. Hoteliers can overcome these limitations by developing targeted marketing plans and by using more sophisticated technology, such as marketing and sales platforms with customer segmentation capabilities.
4.Adopt fit-for-purpose technology
Most hotel CRSs and PMSs are not designed to support ABS. This is a major problem because these systems are essential to managing inventory, pricing, and promotions. Fortunately, hoteliers can adopt a new commerce engine that supports ABS and integrates with all their critical sales channels. In doing so, hoteliers can work around the limitations of their existing systems; they also can leverage attribute data for real-time pricing, furthering their ABS programs' reach and potential.
Get started with ABS
Every property is different, with its own unique characteristics, local attractions, amenities, and services. It's time hotels take full advantage of those unique attributes. Check out "How unbundling and re-bundling enable personalized guest experiences and increased revenues in hospitality" for further insights.