Cross-Selling and Upselling: The 5 Dos and Don'ts of Personalizing the Online Booking Experience
By Mark Simpson President & Founder, Maxymiser | November 24, 2013
"People don't like to be sold, but they love to buy!" These wise words are the mantra of sales authority Jeffrey Gittomer and have far-reaching implications for anyone seeking to present their products to customers in a way that will positively influence their buying decisions. It also illuminates the many reasons why personalization is such an effective way for hotel marketers to cross-sell and up-sell products to their online guests.
The basic idea behind both this quote and personalization is that when customers feel like they're being sold, they rebel by not buying. It's not that they don't want to buy-after all, if they're on your site browsing items they can only access through purchase, buying is presumably on their minds-it's that they want to feel as though they were in control of the buying decision. Our job as marketers is to assist them in making the best decision, not using gimmicks or magic to trick them into decisions that don't make sense for them.
Knowing that it often takes the same amount of energy to sell customers things that don't ultimately make sense for them as it does to sell them on things that do, your goal is to appeal to their love of buying, rather than triggering their aversion to being sold. Both paths no doubt lead to a sale, but only one ensures you'll never see them again; the other results in increased loyalty and presents the conditions for an ongoing relationship.
The following 5 Dos and Don'ts of personalization will lead hotel marketers down the latter path by improving guests' experiences at their offline properties by cross-selling and upselling them on things that make sense for them at their online ones.
Do: Build a profile for each online visitor or customer
Based on their site activity, the nature of their visits, and the details of their searches, potential guests offer marketers enough data to create representative profiles of them. The strength of a guest's profile is directly proportionate to the quality of the data that comprises it-things like location, the time(s) at which they visit, frequency of visits, their purchase history, and browsing activity, as well as the information they share about their objectives during searches. Think: length of stay, number of people (adults and children), last hotel location (searched or booked), and so on.