Recently, we were having a conversation in the marketing team. A friend of mine had been enjoying the beautiful sights of Valencia, Spain, but he and his wife didn't know where they would be going on their holiday until they arrived at the airport. It was a surprise vacation!
I began thinking of creative ways that companies have taken less popular products or last-minute stock, and transformed them into cash cows.
How have they been so successful? They created a product their defined target market would want to buy.
Below you can see 3 creative ways companies have sold remaining spaces to travelers:
1. Etihad Airways
With a stern reputation, Etihad Airways is a preferred choice with travelers, especially for long-haul destinations. The luxury airline travels worldwide with connections in Abu Dhabi.
Before departure, Etihad gives their passengers the opportunity to 'bid' for an upgrade. Travelers can offer a rate they are comfortable with for seats in business or first class. Offers may be accepted or declined by Etihad at any point before flight departure so, if an upgraded seat remains available, they can take the additional revenue.
A smart marketing tool by Etihad is their opportunity to ‘bid’ for the neighboring seat on the plane. Many of their seats are in rows of 3, so this offer allows travelers to book the middle seat or the entire row, to for 'space and comfort’.
Let's be honest; if Etihad is offering the option to bid for an extra seat, they won’t be turning away full price customers for your comfort. This offer exists as they have empty seats that will travel on the plane whether booked or not, so no revenue is a lost opportunity.
The bid amount for an extra seat is between 30%-50% of your full price ticket which may be more profitable to the airline than a paying passenger. Empty seats mean less fuel, less staff, less food and fewer drinks. It is a very clever way to make money and will appeal to families, Gen Xers and Millennials.
Etihad has created a package around an economy customers wish for more comfort, that is more affordable than a business class upgrade. However, it is still very profitable for the business! Is there a customer demand that you could use on your tours & activities?
2. Georgian House Hotel, London
A friend and I were going to London for the weekend to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour. I found the Georgian House Hotel via a shared blog post on Facebook. It is located around 10 minutes from Victoria Station and sits on a long street of townhouse hotels and B&B's.
I selected this hotel as they have a selection of non-affiliated Harry Potter style bedrooms available to book called the 'Wizard Chambers'. These rooms are exceptionally well designed with arch doorways, four poster dormitory style beds, luggage trunks, books, trinkets and stained glass windows. If that wasn't enough for a Harry Potter enthusiast, movie theme music and a smoke machine is switched on as you enter your room.
Photo Source: Booking.com listing Georgian House Hotel
I realized during our stay how inventive the hotel owners had been. These bedrooms are in the hotel basement. They each had no external view and were cosy in size. By choosing the Harry Potter theme, the hotel has transformed these bedrooms from what would have been their lowest priced stock to the highest. Harry Potter fans can not get enough!
The Wizard Chambers book well in advance. The average price for two adults is £259 per night, around 35% more than a classic bedroom, and more expensive than the hotels luxury suite. In 2018, the hotel completed a £1 million refurbishment where it expanded its collection of famous Wizard Chambers.
By selecting a popular theme and utilizing their central location, The Georgian House Hotel now stands out in the over-saturated London hotel market. Is there a theme you could add to your tours?
Srprs.me is a new travel agent who organizes surprise holidays for travelers. The companies demographic is primarily Millennials who are keen to explore new places around the world.
Prospective travelers visit the company website and select their holiday criteria. Once complete, they are shown a price tariff of what their trip will cost per day. Additional charges are added for luggage and breakfast. After uploading personal and payment details they are booked - To a 'destination unknown!'
This isn't a marketing strategy to low budget buyers. It is for Millennials with a mid-high income who want to visit a new location. Thijs, Support Agent, srprs.me told us: "People book with srprs.me mostly because of the surprise, but also because of how easy it is. People don't have to arrange things themselves and can just let us do the work."
How does the srprs.me strategy work? As travelers don't know anything about their trip, except the weather forecast a week before, could srprs.me source last minute airline deals, or could they have preferred rates with hotels in set destinations? These would all be ways to make a fast profit.
Thijs, Support Agent, said: "That's a srprs.mystery ;) Our consultants look at the wishes of the travelers and always send them to a place we'd like to visit ourselves too."
Srprs.me has a creative strategy targeted at a generation who love personalization and travel. This is the perfect combination for srprs.me to continue to grow. Can you use generation traits to tailor your tours?
Each of these examples are very different to show you how you can think out of the box to monetize on your stuck or last minute tour & activity spaces. There are so many operators offering the same package. Think differently to stand out from your competitions!