Attribute Based Selling: It’s Time to Define it for the Hotel Industry

For years, many in the hotel industry have talked about Attribute Based Selling (ABS). It has been discussed at conferences and in webinars with many claiming it is the way of the future that looks like the way of the past, while other claim it is currently in action out in the market.

All of this begs the question of what exactly it is. Most will tell you that ABS promises to give customers a method to purchase products in a way that better match their individual desires, with the benefit of driving more revenue for the seller. In a way, ordering a custom pizza with the toppings you like is a method of ABS.

But when it comes to hotel and their array of assets, the definition of ABS has become blurred. Depending on who you speak to, you may actually be talking about attribute-based shopping or attribute-based pricing. We think it’s time to sort this all out once and for all.

With attribute-based selling, hoteliers can sell every room attribute separately. Instead of the traditional method of offering rooms by room type, a hotel could “un-categorize” its inventory and allow guests to pick only the features they value. As our own Pierre Boettner put it, “ABS makes the buying process not just simpler and pricing more transparent, it avoids false choice paradoxes and instantly increases satisfaction.”

Let’s be clear: the goal is to maximize the revenue from all your hotel assets regardless of whether they are ‘true’ room attributes or not. However, to do so requires us to make sure we understand exactly what we are selling. The guest cares about building a stay experience, but less about what the building blocks are called. The hotelier needs to define the building blocks to be able to accurately determine availability and pricing.


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