Skift Take

Hospitality brands across the spectrum — from economy to midscale to luxury — are looking for ways to sell ancillary services and experiences more efficiently. The right technology solution can enable them to personalize guest offerings and maximize total revenue.

Resiliency requires many levers. For hoteliers, this means looking beyond volume and rates for revenue growth. The airline sector has long understood the importance of upselling ancillary products and services — meals, drinks, checked bags, extra legroom, flight changes, and any other “extras” beyond the seat itself. As hotels look to boost revenue beyond expansion, ancillaries are becoming increasingly vital in hospitality as well.

“Traditional hotel distribution is based around bundled offers that leave consumers with few choices to personalize their stay,” said Tom Winrow, vice president of product management at Sabre Hospitality. “We want to help hoteliers go beyond ordinary attribute-based selling by offering policies, services, merchandise, and experiences outside the room.”

Sabre Hospitality’s newest product, SynXis Retail Studio, enables hotels to personalize the guest experience by offering add-ons like concert tickets, destination experiences, branded products, multiple cancellation options, and any other ancillaries at the point of booking.

Evolved Model. Endless Opportunities.

“We have been talking about attribute-based selling for a long time in this industry,” said Eben Hewitt, chief technology officer at Sabre Hospitality. “But it has yet to be realized because of the challenges with inventory, integration, and fulfillment. We’re envisioning a world in which hotels can quickly and easily turn anything — bed types, workspaces, meeting rooms, merchandise, experiences, services, policies, scheduled events — into a set of offers backed by a powerful machine-learning recommendation engine.”

SynXis Retail Studio gives revenue managers the flexibility to offer customized products, priced independently or as a bundle, that can deliver a customized buying experience for guests. For example, Winrow said, “If they want to create multiple cancellation options, provide guaranteed early check-in with varying pricing by the hour, or allow guests to alter the service level for housekeeping, they can offer it without requiring a new rate for each choice.”

According to Hewitt, the possibilities are truly endless. “We refer to SynXis Retail Studio as the ‘anything store’ because it truly supports selling anything. Hospitality no longer revolves around selling guest rooms. Some properties make half their revenue from meetings and events. We recognize that every property has something unique to offer, and we want to support that.”

A Peek Under the Hood

Designed for scalability and resilience, SynXis Retail Studio’s cloud-based architecture uses automated machine learning to ensure that the best offer is reaching the right guest at the right time.

“SynXis Retail Studio is based on service APIs that can scale up or down seamlessly to meet demand and allow partners and customers to build their own apps or integrations into the offer flow,” Hewitt said.

Within five minutes, revenue managers can create a product from scratch and see it appear as an option within the booking engine.

“Every product is set up the same way, which reduces training and hassle,” Hewitt said. “But it also removes some of the need for managing thousands of rate plans, which can free up staff for higher-value activities.”

Looking Ahead

Initial results from the pilot program of the tool look promising. “SynXis Retail Studio has already proven to generate double-digit revenue increases for our pilot properties,” Winrow said.

When international travel came to a halt during the pandemic, Cordis Hotel & Resort Hong Kong utilized SynXis Retail Studio to quickly pivot their strategy and target the local market with tailored ancillary offerings. Per room night, they increased sales by 53 percent for experiences, 46 percent for merchandise, and 35 percent for services compared to the same period in 2019.

Sabre Hospitality sees enormous potential for SynXis Retail Studio to help hoteliers drive success and differentiate their brand with less management hassle. To that end, Sabre recently expanded its hospitality retailing capabilities by acquiring Nuvola, a provider of hotel service optimization and guest engagement software.

“Our aim is to support a rich and imaginative landscape of offers — anything hoteliers can dream up — to make sure they can delight every guest with personalized stays,” Hewitt said. “With SynXis Retail Studio, you can offer more things in more ways than ever before.”

For more information about Sabre Hospitality’s SynXis Retail Studio, please click here.

This content was created collaboratively by Sabre Hospitality and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.

Tags: ancillary revenue, future of lodging, hospitality, revenue, revenue strategy, Sabre Hospitality, SkiftX Showcase: Hospitality