Pictures: Do Something Different; Travelcube; Dimitris Poupalos
Greece and Cyprus were made for upselling, writes Laura French.
A simple flight-plus-hotel holiday is all well and good, but will your client remember that booking in years to come? Perhaps not. Yet throw in a few little extras – lounge passes, room upgrades, dining packages and culture‑filled excursions – and suddenly it starts to become a little harder to forget.
“Upselling adds value and variety to a booking,” says Peter Cox, purchasing manager for Cyprus at Classic Collection Holidays. “Pull together a first-class itinerary and you’ll win over a client for life, and also benefit from the extra commission that a higher value booking brings.”
Thankfully Greece and Cyprus are knights in shining armour when it comes to the topic, with innovative all-inclusives, numerous suite types and various add-ons enabling you to bolster your booking and your credentials.
Wine and dine
If there’s one thing that can sway the most reticent of customers it’s surely food, glorious food, so highlight dining upgrades for clients looking to indulge while budgeting in their costs from the start, says Lauren Ross, product and commercial manager for Europe at Simply Luxury by Travel 2. “Upgrading a booking to half-board is a great value‑for‑money extra, particularly for families,” she says.
Some hotels offer upgrades for free if clients stay for a certain amount of time – a good upselling opportunity for those initially considering a shorter stay. Take the Annabelle and Almyra in Paphos, both of which offer a complimentary upgrade to half-board when guests stay for five nights or more.
For those that don’t, highlight the more interesting offerings. Sani Resort’s Dine Around programme, for example, gives clients who opt for half or full‑board a choice of 22 restaurants and the flexibility to swap dinner for lunch. And Ikos Olivia and Ikos Oceania in Halkidiki have their novel Dine Out all-inclusive concept, enabling guests to eat at a local restaurant at no extra cost – meaning those who might otherwise forgo all-inclusive in favour of local eateries could just be swayed.
Aldemar Royal Mare, meanwhile, offers its ‘Elements’ all-inclusive package, providing gourmet menus and branded drinks at several of its restaurants alongside spa treatments, yoga, pilates, water sports and more, all for one prepaid price tag – worth suggesting to clients who plan on indulging in these activities anyway.
And why stop at the food? Upgrading to a superior room can put the cherry on the cake, and it doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the bank, according to Dudley der Parthog, director of Sunvil Greece. “Accommodation in Greece is very reasonably priced,” he says. “Self-catering guests, for example, can upgrade from a studio to a one-bedroom apartment for very little more while benefiting from twice the space.”
Don’t discount club rooms either, says Sovereign Luxury Travel product manager Helen Howard, with plenty of hotels in the region offering added amenities and services that provide excellent value for money.
For the best upgrade opportunities, though, Lauren Ross recommends looking to Crete. “Many of the luxury hotels offer rooms and suites with private pools,” she says. “These are especially popular with honeymooners and travellers looking to upgrade when celebrating special occasions.”
And highlight the extras those upgrades bring. Domes of Elounda, for example, offers its ‘Haute Living Section’ for clients booking a Private Residence (new for 2018), Luxury Residence or Luxury Villa, giving guests an in-villa open bar on arrival alongside a dedicated villa manager, pre-bookable seafront lounges on the private beach and plenty more.
Daios Cove, also in Crete, provides guests with free access to the new premium all-inclusive Residents’ Club when they book certain suites and villas at given times of the year, with lunch and dinner at any of the restaurants included in the deal.
In Halkidiki, Porto Sani and Sani Asterias offer four hours’ complimentary babysitting for clients staying in one of their three-bedroom family suites, making a decent selling point for parents wanting a bit of alone-time. Those staying in a deluxe one or two-bedroom family suite at Sani Beach get a dedicated concierge check-in – reason enough to upgrade if they’re keen to get straight to the beach.
You needn’t limit the touches to just the hotel stay, of course. For clients after something a little special, suggest opting for some glitzy extras on the journey out. Olympic Holidays’ Gold Collection provides private taxis to and from the hotel and UK airport lounge access, alongside a concierge service in resort and a UK team to help with travel arrangements.
Sunvil and GIC The Villa Collection, meanwhile, offer clients the chance to pre-book extra-legroom seats on their flights for a supplement, while Classic Collection has options including a VIP meet-and-greet service – where, on the return flight, clients are met at the aircraft door – alongside business-class upgrades on short-haul flights, lounge passes and chauffeur services to the airport. “When one considers the costs associated with airport parking, particularly during peak periods, the latter can be remarkably good value,” says Peter Cox.
There are plenty of other add-ons available in resort too. Sovereign Luxury Travel can arrange extras ranging from breakfast in bed to spa treatments and in-room gifts, adding value for those ringing in an anniversary or birthday.
If you’ve got clients wanting to branch out beyond the resort, then bingo. Greece and Cyprus are the perfect bedfellows for fun-filled excursions thanks to culture, history and nature in abundance, and attraction providers can make upselling something of a doddle with day trips to suit clients of every type.
“Combining a hotel booking with at least one tour or activity will significantly boost the agent’s margins,” says Maggie Nikou, TravelCube market manager for the region. “In Greece we have some of the highest commissions in the market, and the booking process is hassle-free.”
“Many of Crete’s luxury hotels offer suites with private pools, especially popular with honeymooners.”
Recommend TravelCube’s full-day Attica Wine Tour and Cape Sounion excursion from Athens for vino fans (€127 per person), or for romantic types heading for Santorini suggest a sunset trip around the island. Attraction World also offers several tours here, including an excursion to see Oia at dusk and a morning caldera boat trip taking in some of the island’s most iconic sights (from £41 for adults).
Over in Cyprus there are plenty of locally bookable catamaran trips, but if you want to reap that commission look to Do Something Different, which offers a sunset sailing from Protaras or Ayia Napa for £79, including a meal and bar (summer only).
And if clients really want to push the boat out (excuse the pun), recommend a private tour. Planet Holidays offers a half-day sightseeing tour for two around Athens, visiting key sites such as the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Acropolis (from £685), as well as tours from Thessaloniki – giving clients a chance to delve into history, and you the chance to bag that all-important sale.
Classic Collection Holidays has a week at Constantinou Bros Asimina Suites, Cyprus, from £2,459 for a seaview room on an ultra all-inclusive basis, departing May 10, including flights from Gatwick with extra-legroom seats, lounge access and private transfers.
Seven nights’ B&B at Aldemar Royal Mare Thalasso in Crete costs from £600 with Olympic Holidays (Gold Collection), including an upgrade to a VIP premium room, private transfers, airport lounge passes and flights from Gatwick on May 9, 2018.