Personalisation, AI can help hoteliers drive ancillary revenue

With the rise of more sophisticated online bookers, hotels can cut their reliance on OTAs and grow revenue by changing their marketing strategy through the adoption of a feature-based, AI hospitality system.

That was the premise of the Sell Uniqueness, Not Just Hotel Rooms webinar organised by Hong Kong-based Hospitality Host (HH), in partnership with GauVendi, a digital inventory sales engine headquartered in Frankfurt.

Hoteliers can improve business through personalisation and adoption of airlines’ ancillary strategy, say experts

HH managing director, Winnie Chui, cited surveys showing that bookers were willing to pay more for personalised products and services, and claimed this could result in a 20 per cent increase in revenue.

Unlike other players in the travel industry, like airlines which introduced ancillary fees, the hospitality sector is “lagging” in the online booking space, observed HH vice president Norman Lui.

GauVendi managing director and founder, Marcus Mueller, commented the industry had to take back control of how inventory is being managed and how to monetise categories beyond room type, such as room location, bathroom set-up, outdoor spaces, room design and function, and more.

Mueller said personalisation is just one aspect of creating an automated sales engine, which should also include AI to analyse data, look at customer history in context and to sell rooms with different features using labels like “lowest price”, “most popular”, “for families with children”, etc.

He explained: “With labelling, a hotel can sell a basic deal and upsell later, or show the same room from different angles, like how the retail industry does it – highlight different features and price points to elicit an emotion.”

The booking data is powerful, Mueller said, as it could, say, let a hotel know if it should “put more twin rooms on high floors” or what the “price difference break point” is.

Mueller pointed out version 3.0 of GauVendi is now being tested to further streamline how inventory in a resort, for example, can be allocated to suit the preferences of different international guests.

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