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Many sectors of the travel industry have optional add-on products and services that enhance the traveler’s experience, such as airport parking, travel insurance, car rentals, and baggage services. The addition of these optional ancillary services can provide a substantial increase in revenue for companies, but not all companies are capitalizing on this practice.

In a national consumer survey commissioned by Fusion and conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, research found the following opinions on ancillary products and services:

  • 58% of consumers said they have purchased an add-on product (travel insurance, rental cars, etc.) when shopping online
  • 56% of consumers said the amount they spend online is dependent on what they find or what interests them
  • 61% of consumers would be open to spending more,  if an ancillary product or service compliments or enhances their main purchase

In other words, more than half of online shoppers do not have a fixed, predetermined amount they intend to spend – they’re flexible, and the right offer could easily lead them to spend more.

But here’s a critical question: is the travel industry offering add-on products that consumers want to buy, when they’re ready to purchase?

Earlier research sponsored by Fusion shows mixed results.  Travel insurance is the biggest seller, but only 40% of websites today are offering insurance.

Ground transportation is doing slightly better – just over half of companies (53%) are offering it as an ancillary sale.  But theme park/attraction tickets, another area where consumers open their wallets further, is only being sold by 17% of companies surveyed.

Clearly, there’s room for improvement here within the travel industry.  To help improve the customer’s experience, as travel companies add more ancillary products and services, let’s look at what consumers said they prefer when being offered add-on opportunities.

Relevance of the offer is critical. Forty percent of consumers said they like seeing additional products being offered that can potentially enhance their initial purchase.  In addition to relevance, visual design of the offer and it’s ability to catch the consumer’s eye is extremely important: 71% of consumers surveyed highlighted visual appeal as influencing their purchasing decision.

Forty-one percent of consumers want to find add-on product opportunities displayed throughout the website they’re visiting.  Thirty-five percent would like a follow-up email.  Most importantly, more than half of consumers (57%) would like to receive product offers via text message or mobile communications at a time when the retailer feels it would most likely benefit them.

Research shows that add-on products and services are a growing component in online consumer shopping. When the right offer is presented at the right time and in the right way, an ancillary product or service will both delight the customer and bolster the bottom line.  It’s a win-win for all parties involved, and something the industry should focus on as the travel business continues its evolution online and for mobile devices.

This content was created collaboratively with our sponsor Fusion.