So, you decided you want to start selling your hotel's ancillary experiences and gift vouchers. Great! How should you go about it? Do you prefer to sell them via your own online shop? Or would you prefer to make them available via a marketplace? And is it an either-or situation at all?
Here is what most of our clients typically think about each solution:
Your own online shop - pros
- Branded in line with your style guide
- Lets you sell your experiences exclusively
- You are in full control of where and how you want to promote it
Your own online shop - cons
- You have to promote it yourself. All by yourself. Nobody else but you.
- If you outsource the work to your in-house IT team, it will take forever and require a LOT of your input.
- If you outsource the work to an external digital agency it will take forever, it will require a lot of your input, and it will cost an arm and a leg... And then you will have to pay more for each upgrade, update, tweak or feature.
Marketplace - pros
- Somebody else is doing all the marketing work for you - yay!
- Somebody else is dealing with the payment gateway, security, servers, patches, fixes, etc.
- There's a good chance somebody else is dealing with content upload and changes
Marketplace - cons
- Your experiences and gift vouchers will be presented amongst treats from other providers
- If you're not careful, the marketplace may present your treats amongst some that you might not like
- You typically have to wait for any changes to your content to take place and you have no control over layout, UX, style, etc.
So which one is better? It's all relative. Just like apples and oranges - it all depends on who you are as a brand and what you want to achieve.
Normally it boils down to how strong your brand awareness is in the local area. If you are managing the most iconic hotel in your city and you have 20K+ organic and engaged followers on social media, you are in a very good position to make your own online shop an overnight success.
If you are managing a brand new hotel, perhaps it is a better idea to test the waters first - start with the marketplace and see where it takes you. Perhaps once your first visitors rave about you on Facebook and your treats go viral, look at building your own online shop?
Or, more importantly, consider if you actually have to choose at all. Perhaps it would make sense to find a provider who will create your own online shop and at the same time promote your treats on an exclusive Marketplace?
The beauty of our platform is in how flexible it is in terms of design, while still being an out-of-the-box solution. Once you know what treats you want to sell, we will be able to spin up your branded online shop within minutes. We already have integrations with most popular payment gateways in place too, so there's a very good chance your shop will be up and running on the same day.
And once we upload your content, it will be a matter of one click to make it visible on our Marketplace too. Still giving you access to the admin panel, which means you have full control over your content and can make changes to it in real-time, controlling what appears in your own shop as well as our Marketplace.
Also, considering we only work with luxury hotels, the experiences you post on our marketplace will always be in good company.
And that's how you can have apples and oranges. Or - in my world - have your cake and eat it.