If you happen to read tech blogs or stay on top of the real estate market, you may have seen the recent $40M funding announcement of Hello Alfred. Hello Alfred is a Manhattan-based startup that partners with developers to offer apartment-dwellers concierge services, like grocery shopping, cleaning, and dry cleaning pickup. Developers that offer Hello Alfred to their renters claim that with the service they can raise rents 7-10%.
Just another gig startup? Not quite. Unlike other companies that offer similar services, Hello Alfred hires its ‘Home Managers’ as employees versus gig workers and provides training to ensure customer success. This note on their careers page could be from any high-end hotel: ‘We only hire people who are hospitable, extremely polite and down to make shit happen.’ (Ok… maybe not the make shit happen part — that’s the tech side of the business speaking.)
The popularity of the service, especially with millennials, provides three lessons that hoteliers can learn from.
1. People are busy and willing to pay for services that help them get some of their valuable time back.
What time-saving services do you offer? Do you provide an airport car service that allows your guests to go from baggage claim to your hotel without having to stand in a taxi line or wait for an Uber? Do you have a laundry service that allows families to return home after their stay with clean clothes?
Pre-arrival is a great time to upsell a guest on these services and hoteliers need to leverage the opportunity with creative offerings. In fact, Revinate Marketing customers that promote upsell offers in their pre-stay email have tremendous success with driving ancillary revenue. With pre-arrival open rates at ~58%, you have a captive audience to entice with your offerings.
2. Everyone wants a little luxury.
Do people really need help running to the dry cleaners or grabbing some milk? Probably not, but everyone craves a little luxury in their lives. Hoteliers are in a great position to take advantage of guests’ penchant for luxury by ensuring they make guests aware of upgrade options prior to check-in. In fact, Revinate Marketing customers see upgrade email click-through rates as high as 30% in pre-arrival emails, indicating that guests are willing to change their original plans and budget for the right upgrade offer.
3. Personalization matters.
Hello Alfred works because Home Managers get to know clients and their preferences. If every week a different gig worker was running a client’s errands and tidying up her or his house, the client would feel the inconsistency in the service and likely not value the service as much. But because a Home Manager knows his/her clients and learns more with each request, the service keeps getting better.
Similarly, hoteliers need to know their guests and personalize communication appropriately. Hotels have so much great data on their customers and, with some thought, can put together incredibly relevant emails that resonate much better than generic blasts to the database. But too often we see emails from hoteliers that are not personalized, resulting in lack-luster performance. That’s why we advise our Revinate Marketing customers to use the data from the PMS to create smart guest segments, ensuring that emails are targeted to each user.
While hoteliers wrote the book on hospitality, tech companies are taking a page and adapting it for new industries and business models. AirBnB. Inspirato. Hello Alfred. They keep coming because hospitality is universal. We look forward to watching the continued adoption of new services while helping hoteliers better understand and implement new trends in the industry.
If you’re not already using Revinate to increase direct bookings with smarter email marketing, please reach out to learn more. We’re always here to chat!