Upselling is a strategy for promoting ancillary products and services, upgrades, extras, a little slice of luxury. An airport that offers a valet service to a customer using its long-stay car park is upselling, so is a hotel that gives a discounted upgrade to a returning guest or a coffee shop employee who tempts with marshmallows on your hot chocolate for an extra 20p. It’s a timely suggestion that there might be something nicer, better or more appropriate on offer.
In the past, the term has been loaded with uncomfortable connotations. Nobody likes a pushy salesman. But with the use of focused data this technique can significantly add to customer happiness, loyalty as well as improving revenue.
Successful upselling requires as complete, and holistic picture of the customer as possible. This factor has left airports lagging behind many in the online retail sector. When passengers purchase flights, parking and other extra services directly through their airline, vital passenger data remains with the airline. As a result, the airport has little idea of its customer demographic.
Understand your potential
Data collected in 2014 by Consumer Technology and Transaction Specialist NCR indicates a growing acceptance of ancillaries in the travel experience. It also highlights the willingness of passengers to purchase upgrades and extras both at a point of sale kiosk and on a mobile. Customers are keen to purchase products on a mobile before they even arrive at the airport, and the study went as far as to suggest that airports could build lucrative new sources of revenue by offering online sale of duty-free goods in advance.
Collect the data
Clean, fact-rich data is necessary in order to gain a rounded view of the customer, and therefore to market the upsell to the customer in a targeted way. Collecting and analysing data is one key to creating more efficient productive airports. For example, an airport website featuring integrated parking and travel reservation solutions is also a data goldmine. Software systems such as those at Rezcomm integrate seamlessly into the airport website, allowing customers to book parking and flights through the airport, not the airline, and collecting the data where it is most needed.
Once this facility is in place, e-commerce platforms such as Rezcomm can work with you to harnesses data using powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
Make it personal
Today’s customers expect a seamless online experience, and they expect it to be personalised. In 2000, online retail giant Amazon pioneered a system of individual recommendations for customers based on actual data of browsing and buying behaviour. Studies show that personalisation plays a significant role in customers’ purchasing decisions. In the case of Amazon, by no means the only platform to use a recommendations engine, recommendations generate over a third of product sales. Websites featuring phrases such as, ‘You might also like,’ or, ‘Recommended for you,’ directly engage the customer and increase customer loyalty, with 56% of customers more likely to return.
Increasing customer awareness of relevant products and services enhances the travel experience and is in line with customer expectation, yet airports have fallen behind other commercial sectors in reacting to changes in consumer behaviour.
From the moment a flight is booked there are opportunities to upsell. Offer upgrades to airport lounges, parking promotions, cross-sell with hotels, car-hire companies and attractions, engage the customer with the in-terminal retail. Give customers an opportunity to research and pre-order products with mobile payment functionality.
Self-service is an efficient sales method but it also empowers passengers. Optimize all possible merchandising avenues making all products and services available online, by mobile and at point of sale kiosks. Let passengers know there is an option to purchase ancillary items such as upgrades through alternative channels such as mobile.
Use Rezcomm’s email marketing support system like to connect with customers, informing them of choices that will improve their experience, allowing a proactive, forward thinking approach to upselling. If you have been inspired to improve your customer experience and update your e-commerce platform, or have any questions about how upselling could increase revenue for your airport, get in touch with one of our experts today.
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