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What Hotel Owners Need to Know About Activity Booking

April 8, 2021

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It’s not such a secret amongst the travel and hospitality industry: activity booking is a great way to serve customers while increasing revenue. By creating partnerships with local businesses offering activities and excursions, you strengthen your presence locally while bringing value to your guests and helping them to have a truly unique experience on their vacation.  

Let’s chat about some benefits to offering a variety of activities for your guests to book through you: 

Increase the Length of Stay 

When you offer activities to your guests, you inspire them to really connect with area attractions and, depending on the activity, other travelers or locals. When your guests feel settled and comfortable in your accommodation and then feel excited to experience what your location has to offer, they’re more likely to want to stay. This is a win for everyone involved: you get to have your guests around for longer (increasing your booking revenues), local activity providers get to do what they love, and your guests have a wonderful time – and are more likely to recommend you to their friends. 

Partnerships and Referral Fees 

By developing partnerships with local activity agencies, you’re building relationships with mutual benefit. Not only are you sending business their way, but there is a strong chance for them to reciprocate – by meeting people on holiday who are out for their activities, many times people wish to book or change accommodation, and they’ll be comfortable to recommend you.  

On a more practical level, are referral fees. Activity companies thrive when they have more visibility, and they can’t do it all on their own. By sharing their activities with your guests, you’re effectively their word-of-mouth marketing resource, giving direct advice to experience what they have to offer. This sort of relationship comes with referral fees, which are an additional incentive for you (and your employees) to offer these bookings to your guests. Referral fees are based on your negotiations and agreements with the vendors, but there are a couple of approaches: either a flat fee per person or booking, or a percentage of the overall booking(s) from your guests. 

So how do you encourage your guests to book activities? 

Encourage Bookings 

There are a few ways to encourage your guests to book activities to participate in during their stay with you. Let’s touch on a couple of them: 

Book Online – Integrate the activities section into your website, and make it easy for them to see images and descriptions of the things that are available so that they can book prior to arrival. Make it easy to add the activity to their booking, and to select dates at check out. This will of course depend on a relationship with the vendor, especially if capacities are limited, but with a good agreement in place you can ensure calendars are up to date and booking is swift and easy. 

Book After Arrival – Many hotels have a dedicated activities desk and even phone number that can be reached from the room. This is a great idea, especially if you nominate staff who are “experts” in the activities to really share about the experiences on offer. Having literature in the room is also a nice idea – your guests may be inspired for that rafting trip when they pick up the room service or restaurant menu to have a look. You can also try having a QR Code – a digital image that is scanned by a mobile device camera to pop up a website – that leads to a simple page with a list of activities guests can browse at their leisure, then contact you when they’re ready to make the arrangements. 

If you don’t have the resources or budget for a dedicated booking desk, having a section in the lobby with activities on display is a great way to start the conversation.  

Ultimately, it’s best to be able to take bookings and process payments online in advance. Try making an arrangement with the vendors to encourage people to book in advance – is there a chance to offer a small discount if they book online while confirming their stay? 

Payment Reciprocity 

When it comes time to share payments and referral fees, you want to handle it as smoothly and swiftly as possible. With DPO’s B2B merchant services, merchants can pay one another in real time, without additional fees. Merchants can also receive funds directly from booking engines such as Booking.com and Expedia.  

Settlement is easy – you can choose to receive your funds via global bank transfer, prepaid Visa or MasterCards, or even mobile wallets.  

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