My Kingdom for Gatorade: Cross-Selling Exactly What Customers Want
Imagine waking up in your Airbnb rental the morning after a good friend’s wedding. You didn’t hold back on the partying and immediately think, “I would give anything for some Advil and a Gatorade. And, I’d give my right arm if it was already here.” This is a common scenario. People want immediate access to different amenities and services. They don’t want to stagger out of bed with a headache just to fetch some ibuprofen.
As professional Airbnb hosts, we know what guests want and understand that they generally ask for the same things. Do you have Advil, an extra phone charger, full-size sunblock, or snacks already in the house? And where did you get your mugs or that artwork on the wall?
As short-term rental hosts, it’s customary, and hospitable, to give guests a free bottle of wine and chocolates when they check in. However, most guests have asked for, and now buy, more expensive items. Ironically, selling items before arrival and during a guest’s stay enhances their overall experience. A pre-stocked pantry? Yes, please! Decorate for a surprise birthday party before we arrive? Yes (and that’s a cross-sale of hundreds of dollars)!
So, how do you make e-commerce cross-selling exactly what the customer wants? Here are a few tips and tricks to maximize revenue while delighting your customer:
- Don't cross-sell, smart-sell. Know your customer and provide them with products and services that fulfill their unmet needs. For example, if you're in a snowy location, sell wool socks. If you have a bachelorette party pad in Nashville, sell a box of colored wigs (trust us here). These things add not only to the comfort level of your customers, they also enhance the travel experience (and make for great Instagram posts). If you provide a hybrid service built off a traditional business model, explore what additional items and services customers typically buy in the original scenario and offer them.
- Personalize recommendations. The best love note to a customer: I know you, I’m thinking of you, and I want you to have all the things your heart desires. With this in mind, when making recommendations for additional online purchases, use a personalized approach. If they're staying at your cottage next to the sea for a weekend, offer local artisanal products in your digital store that amplify the experience of a coastal visit. And think about, for your local area, what guests just have to bring home. Pro tip: it’s usually the thing that three people are carrying home on the plane.
- Think value-added, not extra. For any cross-selling, always position your offerings as a value-add. Forgot something? Hungry? Need a mid-week cleaning? By doing this, you’ll never be seen as tacky, just thoughtful.
The goal with cross-selling is to get to a place where customers actually thank you for it. And, in our case, guests not only thank us 100 times over for pre-stocking Advil and Gatorade, they’ll even leave a review about it. It’s a win-win, hangover win.
Former HGTV producers and successful Airbnb hosts Annie Sloan and Mikel Hubbard are the co-founders of The Host Co., a web-based commerce marketplace for short-term rentals.
Former HGTV Producer and Creative Director at Facebook, and today an avid traveler and a successful Airbnb host, Annie Sloan is the co-founder and CEO of The Host Co., a digital commerce marketplace for short-term rentals. The company’s platform enables hosts to create an online store to sell anything in their property, from the snacks in the fridge to the art on the walls. There are also additional preorder services including “stock my pantry” and connections to local artisan products for sale. Guests can make purchases before or during their stay.
: Former HGTV producers and successful Airbnb hosts Annie Sloan and Mikel Hubbard are the co-founders of The Host Co., a web-based commerce marketplace for short-term rentals. Designed for spaces like Airbnb, VBRO, and even Swimply, the service gives hosts the ability to add items for sale and increase revenue, while improving the guest experience. The Host Co. adds the amenities guests receive at a hotel, but have been missing from Airbnbs and other-short-term rentals. Guests have access to curated local goods they can ship home, such as artisanal foods and crafts, opening the door for small businesses to have quick and targeted access to affiliate marketing.