Friday, April 3, 2009

Beyond Baggage and Seats

I participated at three sessions focused on ancillary revenue during the past two days at TravelCom in Atlanta. Most striking was the inability to agree on what "Ancillary Revenue" actually means among travel distributors! For the GDS, it means selling unbundled products and services. An hour on monetizing checked baggage and seat selection. Sheesh! NOT remarkable. Another hour was spent listening the airline innovators talk about....monetizing checked baggage and seat selection. Hoo boy! Finally, at the last session on the last day (!) four execs spoke about add-ons like customized insurance (think Hyundai's creative marketing - if you lose your job, we'll take the car back...how about travel insurance that guarantees that for upcoming trips!); publishing opportunties to leverage eCommerce audience (gee, isn't that what the OTAs are doing? Listen up, Suppliers); product/service add-ons in the buying path; and perhaps even "car-vertising" using travel product to cross-sell other product. (Worked for W Hotels). Partnering with the right folks who can execute on the product/service is key. And there are plenty of success stories out there. I'll be publishing links to many of them in the coming days, and feel free to share successful (or disastrous) ancillary revenue stories with this blog.

3 comments:

Shane Keener said...

I enjoyed following your tweets and the panel you moderated at Travelcom.

I think that many suppliers have a build it and they will come mentality. I constantly fight with my hotels over the merchandising and marketing of packages, upsells, etc. I think if you take out the first session with the GDS folks, we are on to the gravy of what all of this means for us. Finding ways to make up the difference.

Now if we can get the big brands in the hotel business to realize this power we might be on to something.

Donna said...

I love your refreshing approach on getting to the nitty gritty of what "new" came out of the conference. I look forward to reading more. Thank you for sharing since many of us could not attend.

Dennis Schaal said...

Susan: I agree. If the industry can merchandise and add ancillary services which provide new value to travelers, instead of just taking stuff away and charging for things that formerly were free, then finally we are talking about something. At TravelCom, I like the kinds of things that Henry Harteveldt was speaking of...looking to retailers like J. Crew and Lands' End to tap into their merchandising prowess. That is the direction we need to go in. I look forward to following your blog. I know it will be full of good things and will have your original take on hot-button issues.