Article | June 20, 2023
Leverage upselling and cross-selling techniques to elevate hospitality & tourism businesses. Discover the strategies used to boost revenue by adapting upselling and cross selling techniques in hotels.
2. Cross-selling Vs Upselling: Which One Is More Optimal?
2.1. Defining the Two Techniques
2.2. The Key Differences
3. Combining Both the Techniques to Improve Revenue
4. Importance of Implementing the Techniques in Hotel Businesses
The hospitality industry is highly competitive, and hotels must find ways to boost revenue beyond room rates and taxes. The key to success in this field is to tailor offers to each customer and encourage them to spend more than they had planned. Cross-selling and up-selling are two effective methods of increasing sales.
This article explores these methods' nuances in the hospitality sector. By dissecting the advantages of cross-selling and upselling, we can better understand when it makes sense to implement these tactics for maximum profit. The potency of upselling and cross selling techniques in hotels to improve the business and offer enhances guest experiences.
Cross-selling Vs Upselling: Which One Is More Optimal?
In the hospitality industry , maximizing revenue and enhancing guest experiences are paramount, and whether to prioritize cross-selling or upselling is a question. While often used interchangeably, these sales techniques hold distinctive positions within the buyer journey.
2.1. Defining the Two Techniques
Upselling is a sales approach that offers customers a higher-priced or upgraded service or product that aligns with their interests and preferences. In the hospitality industry, it may encompass enticing guests to upgrade their room selection, such as transitioning from a standard room to a mini-suite, either during the booking process or afterward. Additionally, it may involve presenting guests with hotel packages that provide added value and amenities compared to standalone bookings. The aim is to elevate customers to a higher price category and ensure they enjoy an exceptional stay experience.
On the other hand, cross-selling entails encouraging guests to purchase supplementary products or services related to their existing purchases. For instance, this could involve offering a spa package or a romantic dinner to enhance their stay. Cross-selling opportunities in the hospitality industry can include add-on activities like city tours or bicycle rentals, in-room extras such as upgraded amenities or specialized equipment, on-site spa and fitness services, food and beverage options such as dining discounts or meal packages, and other hotel services like complimentary parking or transportation.
2.2. The Key Differences
1. Strategy: Upselling focuses on communicating value to customers, persuading them to opt for a higher-priced or upgraded service or product. The emphasis is on showcasing the benefits and added value of the upsell, ensuring customers see the value in paying extra for a superior experience. On the other hand, cross-selling aims to appeal to impulse buying by enticing customers to purchase additional, related products or services that complement their original purchase.
2. Timing: Timing is crucial in both upselling and cross-selling. With upselling, the timing is most effective when done pre-arrival, ideally a week or two before the guest arrives at the hotel. This allows customers to anticipate their upcoming stay and consider upgrading their room or adding extra amenities. Cross-selling can be implemented post-booking, such as during check-in or through targeted email campaigns when customers have already committed to their initial purchase and are more open to additional offers.
3. Value Perception: Upselling techniques relies on effectively communicating the value and benefits of the upgraded or higher-priced offering. Guests need to see the value in paying extra for the enhanced experience. In contrast, cross-selling often involves appealing to customers' desire for convenience or enjoyment by offering travel management services that enhance their stay without necessarily requiring a significant increase in expenditure.
3. Combining Both the Techniques to Improve Revenue
Cross-selling is the most effective post-booking and can be implemented in various ways. Firstly, it can be done at the hotel reception during check-in, where guests can be offered add-on items. Secondly, sending an informative email before arrival to highlight additional services is another compelling cross-selling opportunity. Lastly, when guests express interest in a particular service, it presents an opportunity to introduce them to other relevant options.
Upselling, however, is particularly effective when implemented pre-arrival, ideally a week or two before guests arrive at the hotel. This technique can be deployed during the browsing and booking, where customers can be presented with room upgrades and add-on items. It is also fruitful to inform customers about better room options at affordable prices before their arrival, tapping into their anticipation for their upcoming vacation. Furthermore, during check-in, providing guests with information on enhancing their stay by spending a little extra can generate additional revenue.
To combine the power of both techniques efficiently, companies must employ specialized software. This software automates room upgrades and the promotion of additional ancillaries, providing customers with the convenience and freedom to choose and bid on attractive upgrades before arrival. Advanced customer journey analytics, such as software offers, enable personalized product offers, increasing sales and hotel revenue.
4. Importance of Implementing the Techniques in Hotel Businesses
Implementing upselling and cross-selling techniques is vital for hotel businesses, apartment rentals, and hostels. Hotel upselling techniques and cross selling techniques establishments possess unique opportunities to capitalize on these strategies, similar to how airlines offer seat upgrades, meal additions, and car rental options. When choosing accommodations, travelers invest considerable time and thought into finding a place that aligns with the desired ambiance of their trip. As hosts, this presents an ideal opportunity to offer additional products and activities that complement the property's offerings.
Unlike airlines, hotel properties often indicate the activities that guests might be interested in, allowing hosts to select the most relevant products to offer. This could involve tailored offerings such as private guided tours to popular tourist attractions or unique underground graffiti tours based on the guests' preferences and digital travel persona.
By providing personalized offerings that cater to the customer's needs, hotel businesses enhance the overall guest experience and deliver excellent service. Activities constitute the third-largest segment of the travel industry and are continuously growing. With data revealing that 46% of travelers engage in sightseeing tours, it becomes evident that upselling and cross-selling will play an increasingly significant role in the hospitality industry.
In the incredibly competitive hospitality industry, implementing upselling and cross-selling techniques is crucial for hotel businesses. By understanding the nuances and distinctions between these strategies, hotels can target customers strategically and increase revenue streams beyond room rates and taxes. Cross selling techniques encourages impulse purchases by offering additional products or services related to the initial investment. By combining both techniques with specialized software, hotels can personalize their offerings, automate their promotions, and provide a seamless experience for their guests. This strategy not only increases revenue but also caters to guests' various preferences, resulting in increased satisfaction and loyalty. As the activities segment of the travel industry continues to expand, the importance of upselling and cross-selling in hospitality management is anticipated to continue rising. In addition, deploying innovative business travel technology solutions can improve hotel businesses in hospitality industry.
Article | July 4, 2023
Aviation security gets a new face with an AI-driven accessible screening solution that is a part of Project Dartmouth, a collaboration between tech company Pangiam and Google Cloud. This solution uses artificial intelligence and pattern analysis technologies to analyze vast amounts of data. All this analysis happens in real-time to identify potentially prohibited items in carry-on baggage to prevent coordinated terrorist attacks so that security agencies can take swift action against perpetrators. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is currently using this solution on a trial basis.
Threat Detection with Project Dartmouth
Pangiam uses state-of-the-art edge computing with Google Cloud’s AI and ML at the frontline. These cloud-trained AI models run at the edge to speed up the process of threat detection. In addition, using edge computing ensures that there is no concern around network latency and that the solution functions when a network is disconnected.
Achieving aviation security becomes easy with this solution because it uses specialized algorithms to analyze data and patterns within the data. It replicates human intuition to detect items that may look suspicious to a human.
The solution harnesses Aggregated Threat Detection (ATD) software that detects coordinated threats spread across multiple checkpoints, bags, and lanes. For example, the threat could be a weapon that needs assembling with its parts spread across multiple points. In this case, the solution offers a national protective security capability to alert security agencies. Pangiam’s platform collates data from any OEM anywhere using its API approach.
What does Project Dartmouth Mean for Aviation Security?
Safer and Improved Passenger Experiences Dartmouth’s AI and ML capabilities deliver the changed security measures to travelers seamlessly, so their travel experience is not disturbed, nor is their security jeopardized.
Enhanced Security Measures Using this AI and ML-based solution that replicates human intuition, no item that looks suspicious passes the security check. The aggregated threat detection software enhances the ability to detect complex, coordinated attempts to breach security.
Refined Operational Efficiency Automated threat detection software lightens the load on security officers so they can focus on examining baggage alerts. Additionally, airports can utilize their real estate for something more constructive.
Future of Aviation Security with AI and ML
AI and ML enabled tools can streamline some of the security processes and ensure that passengers safely pass through each security checkpoint. Agencies and security personnel can also handle traveler load without breaking any protocols. AI-enabled security systems continually learn, evolve, and make aviation security robust. They will continue to be an important part of the security process.
Article | June 29, 2023
It would be an understatement to say that the recent pandemic is ushering in a seismic shift for the travel trade, which suffered a collective gut punch as COVID-19 unrelentingly raged across the globe. New health and safety protocols, crisis management plans and other operational touchpoints are being overhauled to help those in—and dependent upon—the travel industry better pivot and adapt to the unforeseen. For travelers, priorities and sensibilities have also evolved on multiple fronts. For one, various reports extrapolate how privacy has become the new luxury.
In fact, a “Covid Travel Outlook 2021” travel sentiment survey by Indagare found that travelers “feel more comfortable renting a home or private villa for added privacy” and that “more than half of those surveyed said that they are 54 percent more likely to rent a home than they were prior to coronavirus, preferring to ‘Stay at homes not hotels,’ for added security and peace of mind.” Other reports tout the key advantages of private luxury villa accommodations, with privacy and exclusive use entrenched among them.
Amid the surge in category popularity, travelers must also consider ways to aptly vet luxe private villa options amid a burgeoning field. According to an Indagare.com story outlining the benefits of “going private,” proximity is one overarching booking factor noting that “for some travelers, a house close to town or affiliated with a nearby resort or hotel provides the perfect combination of exclusivity and access (to restaurants, coffee shops, fitness classes, etc.). Others prefer staying someplace further removed, opting for a home with fewer amenities or a lavish villa with every convenience under the sun.”
The article also points out another critical aspect that, all too often, is taken for granted: availability. The story cites the reality that “accommodations can fill up months or even a year in advance,” which some more spontaneous wanderers might not expect. Relative to post-pandemic issues, the story further cautions that “this year, with exclusivity at an unprecedented premium and fewer destinations open to international arrivals, early planning is crucial. One reason: Many travelers are opting for longer stays, now that remote work and Zoom classes are ubiquitous, meaning there’s less turnover. For these extended trips—workcations or staycations—having strong WiFi, reliable phone service and separate areas for being productive are key factors when choosing the right rental.”
With this and other public discourse helping spur private villa reservations, I sought to connect with one purveyor in the space that is making due strides: Destinations in Paradise. This boutique agency offers a suite of architectural five-star private villas in four locales: The Big Island and Kauai, Hawaii as well as Los Cabos, Mexico and Mendocino, California. Having personally experienced this company’s brand of haute hospitality on the Big Island, I sought to connect with the founders—David Cohen and Howard Appel—for some clarity on how they’ve apparently adapted so well in the post-pandemic era. Here’s what they had to say.
MK: So, first, let’s talk about the properties, themselves, and also your company at large. What sets Destinations in Paradise apart from other luxury home and private villa purveyors in the various regions where you operate?
Cohen: It's essentially our caliber of white glove service, which is highly personalized and with the very best amenities that can be provided. The company was started because we wanted to have some fun, as Howard and I had been retired a while. We wanted to give people, especially those desiring privacy and security, the kind of high-caliber experience that we would expect. When someone arrives at one of our homes, they're greeted and welcomed with enthusiasm and everything to elevate the experience is there. This includes the best linens, a house full of flowers and arrival gifts. In Mendocino, we leave fresh-baked goods and wine. In Mexico, our guests are greeted with cold towels and margaritas. Plus, any special requests are accommodated. Even when guests depart, we give them a thank you gift for having booked a stay with us. Overall, it’s a very personalized experience. It’s akin to having a member of the family come and stay. You get up early in the morning, make them breakfast and generally make them feel at home … that this is their home for the duration of the visit. The difference is that it's a five-star experience at every touch point.
Appel: We, ourselves, like to travel in luxury and, as we started acquiring the properties, we realized that this is a great opportunity to offer to other people the same kind of treatment we enjoy. It's the way we all would love to be treated. And we think we offer it differently and more special than others. The business sort of just fell into place as bookings escalated and we started to acquire additional properties.
MK: In the luxury travel space, much is said about the importance of personal touches to elevate the experience. So, can you provide an example of things you all do in this regard to go over-and-above for high-end luxury travelers?
Cohen: Here's one interesting example about the Mexican property, for example: It's two acres of the most gorgeous landscaping that you've ever seen. Even though it's in the middle of a desert, we are desalinating seawater using solar power, so the yards and the landscaping and the flowers are all very lush, but still desert-type plants. The interesting thing is that Howard and I have worked together for close to 40 years and, until we actually got into this business, I had no idea that he had this artistic flair. The landscaping at all of the houses is beyond spectacular. My own personal favorite is the Mendocino home, which has the equivalent of an English country garden. You can just go and sit in there and read a book, sitting in the fresh air with beautiful butterflies and bees buzzing around. The Hawaiian property is the same; it’s just gorgeous, perfect Hawaii.
Appel: It's important to note that these homes are indoor-outdoor homes. We want to make sure we carry the luxury on both sides. If you actually do a search of our home in Cabo on Google Earth, you can easily spot it because it's the only significant patch of green anywhere along the east scape. This kind of lush, natural beauty is just one of the many ways that we cater to our guests relative to the luxurious aspects both inside and outside of the homes.
MK: You touched on some of it already, but what are some other special amenities and activities that you offer in, and around, the homes that are available to guests?
Appel: One key aspect is that each home comes with a concierge service. Our guests can partake in any activity in the local surroundings. We try to offer the opportunities within the local community and try to personalize that. In Mexico, it might be premiere deep-sea fishing, surfing and paddle boarding. In Mendocino, we're about 30-minutes from Anderson Valley, so we can arrange for private wine tours. Especially during the recent pandemic, to help our guests have fun but also avoid big crowds was important to us. Of course, the homes in Hawaii and Mexico have beautiful pools, swim-up bars and each property has its own set of unique amenities on-site a like solar-lighted tennis court. In fact, when we travel to Mexico—in the seven or eight times we've been there—I think we've left the property twice. There's no reason to go elsewhere because everything is there with you. Whatever you want to do, whatever the guests would like, we can make it happen.
MK: Speaking of the pandemic, obviously the past year and a half has been tough for the travel industry, so how have the recent health concerns impacted your business with respect to private villa versus hotel, resort or other kinds of accommodations? And, also, the guest experience while actually visiting a property?
Appel: We took COVID very seriously from the beginning and, yes, 2020 was a hard year for us. We lost almost all of our business, but we used that down time as an opportunity to continue to enhance the homes. Even now, when guests come to one of our properties, they're greeted in a manner that best assures their health and safety. We have our house managers maintain their distance and use masks, of course. But, during the guests’ stay, we also make sure we work around their calendars to not intrude on their stay there. We take it very seriously. And, in fact, when a guest leaves, we have a minimum 48 hours between guests so we can properly clean and sanitize the home for the next guest.
MK: Many people often associate private villa experiences more with leisure travel versus business. But I know Destinations in Paradise properties are also utilized in business—especially when there are privacy, exclusivity and health-related preferences. Plus, of course, the properties are also perfectly suited for corporate events, retreats and even utilized as incentives and rewards for employees and business partners. So, tell us about these kinds of corporate benefits.
Cohen: Even though the houses are focused on providing a safe, comfortable environment for families and extended small events, we do also host small, medium and large-scale corporate events at the houses. Whether it's a two-person law firm figuring out how they're going to run their businesses remotely, to a large distillery that wants to try and get their name out for a new product for, say, tequila in Mexico, our homes are an apt venue. Of course, we host weddings and social media is prompting bookings from people like rappers who want a place to chill out and rethink what their next shows or postings are going to be. And we've hosted philanthropic events like releasing baby turtles in the beaches of Mexico to address species endangerment. For that, a university in Mexico held a business meeting at our property, and as a gift we paid and supported their release of 600 hatchlings. Howard has also had some dealings with movie studios that are interested in hosting either corporate get togethers and business strategy meetings. And, in at least two instances that I can recall, they’ve considered using the homes as part of a movie production. I should also mention that each of the homes have the ability to cater for large and small groups. If we bring chefs in, that event never ever needs to leave the property. The house in Mexico, for instance, has two kitchens that are fully capable of catering to as many people as the property can accommodate, which is substantial, but each of the homes have the ability to cater internally and not rely on outside services.
Appel: All the homes offer businesses a unique opportunity to host meetings and events, from the very large as in Mexico, to even Mendocino for smaller gatherings. They’re all unique and offer the privacy, security and comfort that private villa venues offer—all, of course, with our discerning five-star touch.
Article | June 16, 2022
In 2020, the number of suspected online travel fraud attempts in the U.S. jumped by 136.6%. Two years later, the online travel fraud “industry” is still going strong, making online travel agencies and tourism businesses lose their money and reputation.
"Traveling has always been when people are more vulnerable. A few hundred years ago, the perpetrators were pirates or highwaymen. Now those criminals are still out there, but they've changed their methods to focus on digital attacks instead."
-Caleb Barlow, ex-Vice President of X-Force Threat Intelligence at IBM Security.
Mitigating fraud risk is important in any industry, but it is especially important in industries like travel where competition is fierce and margins are shrinking. The high resale value of its digital goods makes the travel industry vulnerable to fraud.
Fortunately, advanced solutions that prevent fraud have shown great results in the airline and travel industries. Machine learning and artificial intelligence tools are improving in efficiency. With their help and a variety of other methods, a good travel fraud prevention team can curb fraud in the travel industry, increase profit margins, and cut down on the costs and time taken for manual reviews of transactions to prevent financial losses.
How are Online Travel Agencies Mitigating Fraud Risks and Safeguarding Revenue?
Online travel agencies need to be on their toes to preserve their revenue and reputation, and the integrity of their operations to grow and sustain their businesses. Modern online fraud prevention methods can protect you from fraud without jeopardizing the customer experience. Let us look at these methods:
Implementing Machine Learning-based Solutions
Machine learning-based models can be the backbone of your fraud protection strategy. These models can recognize patterns and predict outcomes. They help you identify anomalies in customer behavior in real time, flag an account-takeover attempt, analyze transaction riskiness, and block them before they result in a chargeback. ML-based fraud detection software like Signifyd and Riskified detects illegitimate activities related to payments, account creation, purchases, and chargebacks. They monitor websites, networks, and applications for fraud and prevent digital payment fraud.
It is important to remember that you need to strike a good balance between these preventive measures and your customer experience, so you do not lose business by focusing on only one aspect.
This method focuses on the credit card used for booking. Using an intelligence tool, check if there is a mismatch between the user’s IP address and their billing information and if the same user is making too many bookings from the same account or same card. Combine these insights with user verification and fraud scoring tools so you can reject suspicious transactions automatically. Also, keep an eye on changes to bookings to avoid problems, and follow the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DS S) to make sure card payments are as safe as possible.
Gather important customer data like email addresses, credit card information, loyalty points, and social networking handles. Behavioral data on what the customer does on your website or your mobile app, the devices through which the customer connects to the website, and their email address or location can help prevent fraud. Additionally, online travel agencies can verify users in the following ways:
Use an address verification service (AVS) and a card security code (CVV or CVC). Verify scanned ID documents using SaaS products to add another layer of security to every transaction.
Create a blacklist to block specific users if you notice any suspicious attempts.
Use device fingerprinting to block devices previously associated with fraudulent activities.
To prevent account takeover attempts, deploy two-factor authentication for travel agents, and 3D secure PIN codes for end customers. Biometric technology and mobile payment wallet apps like Google Pay, and Apple Pay can curb swindlers from getting into a customer’s account without secure pins or fingerprints.
Set up a process for verifying every supplier before making any payments. Check their business license, business reviews on Google, and check their Google Street View to confirm if a hotel actually exists at the mentioned address. Ensure that there is no correlation between a steep increase in hotel prices and booking activity because it could be a hotel price spike scam.
Block Bot Attacks
Any kind of abnormal spike in web or app traffic can be an indication of a bot attack. Real-time protection against bots can be a great way to handle illegitimate traffic. Compare every website request against the in-memory pattern database using ML and AI to check and block bots swiftly. Implement networking that can safeguard your domains within milliseconds upon detecting a bad bot.
Control Friendly Fraud
Chargeback abuses are hard to prevent. The only way to fight back is to document compelling evidence to prove that the said transaction was legitimate. Document order forms, tracking numbers, online travel agency customer communication logs, any kind of travel product redemption evidence, and confirmation for items delivered to an address that matches with the address verification service (AVS).
Air France Sped Up Manual Reviews By 70%
Air France wanted an easy way to access reliable information on potentially risky transactions. So they chose SEON’s Intelligence Tool.
“The time spent by Air France analysts on manual reviews is down by an impressive 70%.”
- Eric Facquet, Deputy Manager of Fraud Prevention at Air France
Summing It Up
Tackle online travel fraud head-on while keeping in mind your end customer. You must protect your customers from fraud in a way that is strong, practical, and well-balanced. This way should cover the customer's entire journey with you, both literally and figuratively.
Which software tools can help with fraud detection?
Fraud detection software tools such as SEON, ClickGUARD, Riskified and Oracle Adaptive Access Manager can help detect fraud.
How can you improve fraud detection?
Use machine learning models to automate processes for fraud investigation, and regularly update rules for detection and how to handle alerts.
What does fraud detection software do?
Fraud detection software regulates accounts, payments, purchases, and events in real-time to detect any fraudulent activities. It also protects sensitive company and customer data.