Did you know you can double the value of a UK hotel break – and your income – by adding extras such as rail travel, restaurant bookings and attractions?
Both UK short-break operator Superbreak and add-ons specialist Holiday Extras – which moved into the London theatre-break market two years ago and now offers theme parks, attractions and other add-ons – reckon agents can earn a lot of money on UK bookings by selling clients a bundle of useful extras to go with the basic package.
To prove their point, each has come up with a dream booking (see below) showing how a simple one-night hotel request can blossom into a two-night weekend break with all the trimmings.
Superbreak sales director Ian Mounser said: “Clients can book hotels online these days, and many do book direct with us, that is why we are working hard to make sure agents offer all the extras. It’s more laborious for clients to do it themselves and it’s a chance for agents to add value to the booking.”
Mounser agreed it is a skill – agents don’t want to irritate clients by appearing pushy – but said it is not difficult either.
He said: “The key thing is to offer all the extras, but do it conversationally. Find out how and why the client is going to London and make sure they know you can book train, theatre and attraction tickets”.
“If it’s a special occasion, offer to upgrade their hotel room. You could always simply tell them how much it costs to upgrade. Our evidence is that there are customers out there who want the best rooms.”
Mounser admitted the biggest hurdle for agents can be understanding people are prepared to pay £450 for a two-night break. “It’s out of the price range of many agents so they feel embarrassed about the cost, but a lot of people want a relaxing weekend doing all the things they want and don’t think of the cost.”
Holiday Extras new business director Simon Hagger said the company’s reservation system continually prompts agents to offer extras such as an extra hotel night, dinner in a restaurant and attraction tickets to clients booking a theatre break in London.
He said: “Our sales figures show 20% of customers booking theatre breaks pre-book our restaurant option, 25% book at least one attraction and 20% opt for two attractions, so the demand is there. This is a genuine opportunity for agents to add value to a booking.”
Hagger said Holiday Extras research also shows attractions are a key reason why people decided to book a second night at the hotel.
He said: “My tip is to start by selling the attractions. Once clients decide to book them, there’s a stronger chance they will decide to book an additional hotel night.”
Hagger added that Holidays Extras pays commission on the total value of a package – either 10% if agents want to offer the company’s best-price guarantee, up to 20% if not. In the company’s example, agents charging 20% would earn £40 for the basic theatre break and £95 on the enhanced package.
To prove how much an agent can add to a UK break, we asked Superbreak and Holiday Extras to come up with the perfect package with plenty of add-ons thrown in.
SuperbreakRequest: A Christmas shopping trip in London in December.
Basic price:Two nights at the four-star City Inn Westminster, price £146 per person.
Then add:An upgrade to an executive queen room – £50 per person.
First-class rail travel from Manchester to London – £72 per person.
Best-seat theatre tickets to see Mary Poppins – £60 per person (includes free CD and discount booklet for meals, museums and attractions in London).
A flight on the BA London Eye – £13 per person.
Visit to Madame Tussauds and the Tower of London – £31 per person.
Total value of add-ons:£226 per person.
Total value of booking:£372 per person – a 150% increase on the original quote.
Holiday ExtrasRequest: A Mamma Mia theatre break with three-star hotel.
Basic price:£205 for one night at the Travelodge Kings Cross Royal Scott with theatre seats in the stalls/dress circle – £205 for two people.
Then add:A pre-show dinner at a recommended restaurant – £19 per person.
A BA London Eye fast-track ticket – £25 per person.
The Original Bus Tour – £18 per person.
An extra hotel night – £56 per room.
Total value of add-ons: £180 for two people.
Total value of booking:£385 for two people. (An upgrade to the four-star Holiday Inn Regents Park would cost a total £441.)