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Tips How many guests prefer booking packages vs everything individually?

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

 May 15, 2023

We recently heard about more resort guests showing interest in booking all the pieces of their vacation – lodging, tickets, activities, tee-times, etc. – not only separately, but at separate times. For example, a great deal on tee-times or lift tickets might entice someone to book quickly and they figure they’ll worry about lodging and the rest later.

Or vice-versa, worried lodging prices will go up someone might lock in that rate at the hotel they want but they worry about other things – things that may not go up in price as much – before they arrive.

As we talked with resorts about this, one of the things that surprised us was hearing that some teams were considering going all-in on this booking method. That’s all well and good – Inntopia Commerce is designed exactly for that type of booking style as well as many others – but we also wondered what the data said.

Four Types

As we’ve explored this idea, we’ve found ourselves drawing a bit of a matrix with four different ways to book a resort vacation (something that requires both a room and a main activity).

matrix of how guests prefer to book

Now the theory here was simple: enough guests want to book asynchronously that it would warrant ditching other booking options – like packages and a la carte – and only offering the asynchronous option.

So, we did something simple: we asked travelers. About 350 in fact from the U.S., U.K., and Canada in a simple online survey. The question was simple:

If you’re booking a resort vacation that requires both lodging and some major activity (tee-times, lift tickets, theme park tickets, etc.), how would you prefer to book that vacation?

Here’s what we found.

The Results

From the 350 responses, 36% would prefer packages, 24% would prefer a la carte, 21% lodging first, and 19% activities first.

guest booking preference survey results

As we pondered on these results, two takeaways came to mind.

1) Not an Either/Or

Some these you do in a reservations-related role involve making hard choices between two options, but this isn’t necessarily one of them. If your guests mainly like to ski advanced runs, you don’t bulldoze the beginner trails. Likewise, if more guests want to book in a new way, find ways to cater to those needs and the needs of all your other guests who don’t.

2) Quantify Your Instinct

Second, we’re yet to meet a resort who has actually asked their guests this question. It’s a small thing, but simply understanding what the preferences are your guests are before you make a decision that will impact that is a small, but frequently overlooked, step in the process of shopping for a booking engine.

All-in-One

As I mentioned at the top, Inntopia Commerce is already designed to handle all of these booking preferences (and more, which we’ll talk about later), so we’re practicing what we preach and helping our users better support these guests.

For example, automations like cross-product upsell campaigns more of our clients are using to not just hope single-product itineraries come back for more, but actually proactively encourage them to do so.

screenshot of a cross product upsell campaign

However you choose to support your guests, it’s important to consider what they guest would prefer and use that as a starting point. Don’t force your guests into the booking path you chose, give them options and let them decide.

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photo of tyler maynard

Tyler Maynard
VP of Business Development
Ski / Golf / Destination Research
tmaynard@inntopia.com

photo of doug kellogg

Doug Kellogg
Director of Business Development
Hospitality / Attractions
dkellogg@inntopia.com

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