Hotel and Resort Gift Shop Revenue Drivers
Resort gift shops are a necessity, but for many in the business, they’re not a significant driver of revenue. There are the items that customers have come to expect — toothbrushes, mouthwash and general toiletries — but there’s more that can be added into your inventory mix. In fact, the hospitality industry is coming to see gift shops as a pathway for change. As retail researcher Ann Natunewicz stated in a USA Today article, "Hotel retail isn't just convenience oriented anymore... You want to give people multiple reasons to come.”
By implementing a few changes and adding key products to your inventory, you can increase sales during your busiest and slowest seasons. Here are just some of the items and ideas we’ve identified as potential best sellers or revenue drivers for your resort shop.
- Promote your brand through your inventory. Guests may not be familiar with the region nor the climate. Adding branded apparel for things like rain jackets or tank tops, depending on your location, is not only a convenience to the customer but also helps increase awareness of your brand.
Source local products and art instead of typical souvenirs. Your guests are there to have a real experience, and your resort can play a role in helping them save memories. Many tourists look forward to having something different to share with their friends and family once their trip is complete. By locally-sourcing products, be it soap or hand-woven blankets, you’re helping your customers take a piece of their travels back home.
Be prepared for the unprepared guest. Items like sunglasses are so commonly left behind in the airport, taxi, or back at home. But they’re essential to so many, especially if you’re near the water. Offering high-quality, 100% UV protected sunglasses shows you’ve anticipated your customers’ needs. And it comes as a benefit to the resort as well. As Bud Doyle said in Gift Shop Mag, "We earn our living from people who leave their sunglasses on the plane or the kitchen counter." At Rheos, our wholesale packages help introduce a unique value to your inventory at a low-risk cost.
- Develop partnerships to create exclusive items. When you have something that no one else will, you’re sure to bring in new and interested customers. Creating a collection of exclusive items will give your guests a sense of a “lucky find.” This goes back to our previous point of travelers who seek keepsakes they can’t get at home. Think about unique and destination-relevant items, like necklaces crafted from local beach glass.
Mix in themed items, specific to your location or occasions. If your town or city is known for something, it’s a good idea to introduce items revolving around those themes into your shop. For example, if there’s a large festival or sporting event, you should sell gear and accessories that cater to that audience. Likewise, you should consider common occasions. Does your resort often host weddings? Or large conferences? Work in themes to your inventory that are tailored to your guests.
Sell your customer service. If you’re trying to increase your ancillary revenue, don’t forget to focus on your customers’ experience and the services you offer them. Adding small bonuses can make a significant difference in how consumers react to your shop. Free gift wrapping, for example, will help souvenirs feel more special and customers feel more cared for.
Include items that will make your shop an extension of their experience. That same restful and comfortable feeling your guests have in their rooms should translate throughout your resort. Introducing high-end books or luxury stationery can be one of the ways you blend retail and warmth. So add items that will help your shop feel more like an extension of home to invite customers in.
- Offer a gift in return. Entice your guests to check out your inventory by offering a gift in return. Leaving vouchers for $5 or a discount code in the guest rooms can help price-conscious travelers take a step inside. It’s an added touch of hospitality that will have your guests roaming the shelves for something they can spend their own gift on.
Remember that you don’t want to overstuff your resort shop. If guests are overwhelmed by what’s in front of them — snacks, jewelry, custom keychains, sweaters and so much more — they’re more likely to just walk away. Make sure that you’re selective in what you choose to add to your shop, and focus on your target customer.