The money I didn’t get to spend at an all-inclusive resort: the lost revenue and missed guest experience

all inclusive resort guest experience
Are you optimizing your in-person experience fully to ensure that customer feels like you anticipated every need and in turn delighted their every desire? Do you know how to find the hidden potential in your brand’s in-person experience? 
There are always opportunities to both delight the customer or guest as well as opportunity for hidden revenue potential. I tend to easily “see” all of the obvious opportunities, even when I’m on vacation. In fact, on our last vacation, I was commenting so much on each opportunity, my husband said to me, “Either write them down or stop noticing.” So of course, here’s what I wrote down. 
Here’s a sampling of what I saw from my last vacation during the 2019 holiday season at an all-inclusive resort. It’s a very well-known global brand that almost exclusively has all-inclusive properties all over the world. As a result, one would think they have operations and the experience down to a science. 
I noticed opportunities along the experience journey starting with 1) pre-arrival messaging, 2) setting the stage on arrival of guests, 3) highlighting add-on services and experiential options, and all the way to 4) showcasing more of the brand portfolio for greater long-term loyalty.
Note: We had been to another one of their brand and property for our honeymoon and thus had joined the loyalty program. Within two years, this would be our second visit with the loyalty program. If you ask me as a marketer, that’s a prime opportunity to gain a loyal customer or enthusiast for many more upcoming visits with the brand. 
Pre-Arrival Onboarding (& Anticipation)
We spent 20+ min with the check-in desk (while we’d rather get to the pool) getting a too-brief highlight of the property on a map that was hard to read. We wasted time figuring out where we wanted to go and how to get there. We also missed out on some activities simply because we didn’t know they were going on within the large property. And finally, we spent  a significant amount of resort time (vs pool time) reviewing and choosing those popular day trips to make the most of our trip. And they had our email from booking (and from the loyalty program). 
Leverage the magic of exciting anticipation before a vacation or trip (it’s one of the benefits of travel: looking forward to something!) They say that 80% of the value and mental health benefit of a vacation is in the anticipation of it. Leverage that insight! Provide information before, and not upon, arrival. You likely have the guests’ email, what can you send them in advance of arrival? Help different types of vacationers choose how much to engage with information, perhaps letting ‘planner-types’ set up their days or week to maximize their time at the resort. 
Consider a drip-style series of pre-arrival emails sharing some need to know and ‘you may want to know’ information the 1-2 weeks before arrival. This all generates excitement and anticipation. 
  • Email a link to a resort map that can be downloaded (and digitally expanded) to get familiar with the property
  • Highlight amenities and restaurants, like available activities (ex. kayaking) and key resort areas to explore (ex. gift shop)
  • Share calendar-specific activities and events
  • Allow booking of incremental day trips and tours ($) in advance of arrival 
Potential Lost Revenue: $100-$1000 per room
Wellness bonus membership
We passed the spa and fitness building many times during our week, but we got zero information on classes, no tour of the facility or saw any menu of services, and weren’t invited to book any additional paid services. 
Wellness and staying healthy during a vacation has developed into a full-fledged trend, becoming more requested by travelers and consumers these days. It’s also a big incremental revenue stream for resorts, when it’s given the proper attention. Recent research by Skift found that 78% of affluent travelers want to include wellness in trips, and wellness travelers spend 130% more than average travelers*.  Link:
Explicitly market the spa services and workout facilities (especially if it’s on par with consumer’s trendy expectations or their home gym). Provide free or paid classes, upsell for a pre-breakfast facial or hair blowout before a dinner reservation, and invite them to have a glass of champagne (or a juice) while taking a tour of the spa and gym facilities. There’s even opportunity to create and market a wellness membership (with a health concierge?) for those health-focused travelers interested in more services or access during their stay. 
Potential Lost Revenue: $50-$400 per room
Expand the Portfolio Experience 
We had experienced another brand of their overall portfolio and knew of the great experience. While right next door and easily connected with a path, we were ‘not permitted’ to use any of the facilities. We were curious if it was similar (or not) to our amazing and previous experience. Bummer. 
Moving consumers across, and especially up, the brand portfolio is a desire for many hospitality companies. Giving consumers and travelers a sneak peak experience could be enough for them to consider or book (translated: spend more money) with another more luxurious brand in the portfolio on another trip. The opportunity 
Provide a one-day, or limited/special, access pass to visit the sister property or one of their best restaurants requiring reservations, at an incremental cost (obviously especially if it’s the next step up in luxury for the brand portfolio). This perceived perk and surprise could generate brand and experiential love for the current experience, expose them to the portfolio of brands overall, while also potentially enticing them to check out that upgrade in brand on their next big trip. 
Potential Lost revenue: $50-$200 per room (for the property), $2000-$5000+ (for the brand portfolio or more in LTV potentially) 
Would we go again? Sure! (And we all hope it’s sooner rather than later and we can travel in a relaxed way again soon.)  
Would we have gushed to our friends and on social media if opportunity here had anticipated our needs, delighted and surprised us, and elevated our overall experience? For Sure Yes.  
Would the resort have made more potential and incremental revenue from us? Very Likely Yes. Let’s add it up, shall we? Approximately from $200 per room at minimum to potentially $6400 or more, per room for the property and the brand long term. 
Now, Multiply that lost revenue times the thousands of annual room bookings and the potential is real value and real found revenue. Plus of course, the opportunity to delight and enhance a guest’s experience for more brand love and lifetime value is priceless (well, there’s likely a dollar value there too). 
These were just 3 examples within a complex journey with limitless opportunities and gaps that any guest or customer has driving incremental revenue with more services (while improving the quality of experiences your guest has). 

The issues are inherently the opportunities to be solved in order for guests and customers to have a better experience. Plus they all serve as opportunities for the resort as well. Note, all of these ideas should be tested of course. But the insights and opportunities are available. The opportunities to improve, elevate, and monetize are available to any industry with a brand, digital, or in-person experience. 

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