The Non-Room Revenue.
By Vijay Dandapani
Tuesday, 10th February 2009
While there is no dearth of adjectives to describe the economy there is certainly a paucity of revenue generating ideas.

Hoteliers looking at the abyss that seems to have replaced the cash-register have an urgent need to find alternative revenue sources given plummeting room rates without adopting the tin-ear tactics of airlines who seem intent on aggravating an already aggrieved customer by levying fees for checked baggage and, now, pillows!

Some ideas for non-room revenue could include the following:

- Late night arrivals combined with the new era of austerity frequently compels many a traveler to steer clear of expensive in-room dining. As an alternative, hotels can offer pre-packaged (preferably low-fat) meals on the go that require neither preparation nor microwaves. (Oakfield farms, for example, offers a product along these lines)

- As above for "medical kits" that could include non-prescription analgesics, band-aids etc.

- If the hotel has any USP by way of products in-room (frette linen, duvet pillows, temper-pudic mattresses, "logoed" items etc.) look into "selling" them to interested guests.

- Take a fresh look at pricing in all miscellaneous income departments like laundry, parking garage commissions, car-rental agency commissions and all vending machines.

- If the property accepts pets, look into offering related services such as dog-walkers, vets etc on a revenue sharing basis with the providers. The same goes for a "nanny service".

While most if not none of the foregoing will likely compensate meaningfully for the precipitous drop in RevPar, the measures could help add to a bottom line that is fast changing color.

Vijay is Chief Operating Officer and part-founder of Apple Core Hotels- a chain of 5 midtown Manhattan hotels offering value and comfort in the heart of the city.Member of the board of Directors - Hotel Association of New York. www.vijaydandapani.com
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