The Road to Recovery: How Travel Experiences and Ancillary Services Are Rebuilding Tourism
With increased expectations on customer service and travellers becoming enthusiastic to travel again, hoteliers need to widen their scope of services and offer unique experiences to keep them engaged while providing them with memories they’ll cherish forever. Learn how to maximise revenue from ancillary services by leveraging travel experiences.
What are ancillary services, and why is it important?
Back in full force, the travel industry is at the height of restoring itself. While technology has been the talk of the town in designing transformative hospitality experiences, real-life travels and expeditions are an irreplaceable form of art that even technology cannot be substituted for. During the pandemic times, the travel and hospitality industry pursued new streams of revenue from ancillary services and has since become a major source of income for businesses. In addition to lodging and in-house amenities, ancillary revenue can be generated from add-ons and commissioning third-party providers (e.g. tour operators) to market to guests of the hotel. With increased expectations on customer service and travellers becoming enthusiastic to travel again, hoteliers need to widen their scope of services and offer unique experiences to keep them engaged while providing them with memories they’ll cherish forever. Beyond the five-star stay, this can be done through curated activities, exclusive experiences and bespoke services customised for travellers.
How travel experiences are transforming tourism
We witnessed the transformation of travel as it evolved beyond the realms of earth and into the metaverse, yet the digital sphere simply cannot replace the true beauty of the world and all its wonders. After a dormant few years, achieving life satisfaction has become an important factor. The desire for activities and experiences are being prioritised when planning a trip, evident from the rise of ‘Bleisure’ travellers who seek for work-life balance. Pent-up demand for unique experiences has brought in an influx of new customers and travel groups that hoteliers are forming partnerships with local businesses to craft interesting and relevant experiences for their guests.
With the right experiences, this form of ancillary service can help jumpstart the revival of tourism and hotel guest stays, providing travellers with the opportunity to explore unique places and take part in local community experiences, engaging with locals. Activities such as cultural expeditions and immersive tours, nature-based and food-focused trips ignite a traveller’s passion for the world whilst also boosting the region’s economy and support for local communities.
As Asia’s famed cities rapidly remove travel restrictions, travel demand is soaring. The industry has also been eagerly waiting for the return of Chinese tourists and their big spending. A McKinsey research revealed that Chinese tourists have begun to favour adventures in the wild after an increased appreciation for nature and the outdoors during the pandemic, as well as authentic cultural experiences. Those that prioritise self-development are also seeking trips that upkeep and help nurture themselves through self-improvement and educational experiences, leading to the boom of wellness tourism. Due to such, Chinese tourists favour boutique hotels and beach resort villas that offer either experiences within an exotic culture or even homestays for on-the-ground local experiences.
Best practices and benefits of using ancillary services to boost hotel sales
In adopting ancillary services, hotels have seen a 125% increase in revenue growth since onboarding Techsembly’s e-commerce and gifting solutions. A CBRE study on American resorts also identified an average of 35% increase in revenue through ancillary income, outside of booking. Ancillary services are low in risk and investment, and generate high revenue with good margins, making it a profitable division. The use of ancillary services like experiences and add-on amenities are a great tool to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty, meeting the needs of travellers and strengthening customer relationships during and after the trip.
Hotels that have brought in experts and interesting people from the community to elevate their experiences exclusive to guests are some of the best practices seen in the industry. Here are some exemplary strategies from hoteliers using ancillary services and hosting experiences:
- Capella Hotel and Resorts: Taking pride in its Capella Culturist team (a blend of personal assistant, butler and personal travel guide) crafts programmes and experiences by liaising with the locals and highlighting the community. This Heritage and Cultural Immersion Expedition gives guests a glance into the daily lives of locals and introduces them to Singapore’s Peranakan heritage. From living life like a local, starting their mornings in the wet market to tasting the local cuisines of the Peranakans and playing a game of Mahjong for an afternoon pastime, these activities are unique enough that cannot be found anywhere else.
- Aman: The hotel group well-known for its breathtaking resorts also designs beautiful unique experiences for their luxury clientele, such as Ayurveda at Amangalla. Guests are given access to Amangalla’s Ayurveda physician for an in-depth consultation, then embarking on a four-day personalised programme including prescribed meals aligned to their dosha-requirements, alongside customised Ayurveda treatments. This is an example of an itinerary and experience that is fully tailored to the guest.
- Raffles Hotel: Singapore’s iconic Raffles Hotel is known for its long-standing history and royal visits have created a Reflections of Raffles staycation package involving its in-house historian Leslie Danker. A morning history tour guided by Mr Danker is provided and a trishaw ride around the property with a little food expedition to try local culinary delights.
Building experiences with Techsembly
With that being said, experiences can come in many shapes and forms that can appeal to different guests and their profiles. Techsembly is an e-commerce platform that helps luxury hotels build out their e-commerce offering and expand ancillary services with experience vouchers and gift cards that can help convert storytelling moments into transactional and profitable mediums.
We also have a strategic partnership with media publications such as BurdaLuxury, distributing experiences and unique hotel offerings through travel marketplaces to their affluent readers of Travel + Leisure and Lifestyle Asia. Combining a curation of luxury lifestyle content with inspirational travel tips, our partnership platform brings together the world’s best luxury hotels and bucket-list experiences for travel connoisseurs.
Create, manage and promote unique experiences with Techsembly’s gifting and experiences platform in the spirit of travel revival. Gift cards and experience vouchers are timeless gifts and vehicles to generate revenue all year round. We’ve helped leading hotels lift their revenue by 500% and a 380% increase in sales volume from listing their extraordinary experiences online to the world. Book an exploratory call with our Head of Sales, Floris Vermeulen, to get your hotel set up to stand out from the competition.