Throughout lockdown, the Umi team embarked on a fast-paced innovation cycle to create tools to support hotels through the crisis. This post is about how Pop Up Purchasing was created and how our tool helped generate over £15,000 for one particular hotel and supported their overheads throughout the crisis.
Revenue became almost impossible to come by as rooms, events and F&B closed for hotels. It was a very frightening prospect for hotels and it will certainly take years to iron out the financial dent that this pandemic has caused. This was such an unprecedented challenge. At Umi, we have always had a product to support the marketing for, but when the product disappeared, our role as a partner changed in nature significantly. Our focus throughout lockdown has been on understanding as much as we can, about the wider sentiment towards travel and feathering these insights into technical solutions. Our way of implementing these technical solutions as quickly as possible was through creating a separate internal department, Umi Labs. The innovation cycle followed a very lean methodology and has resulted in some exciting innovations. The principle product and the one we go into depth about here is our Pop Up Purchasing plugin for our clients.
One of the key trends that we identified early on was that traffic had all but ceased on room revenue pages, yet voucher and non-availability linked revenue streams had held up against the plummeting trends. We were still seeing traffic to voucher purchases remain strong as the help hospitality movement grew in popularity, particularly among regulars.
Another seemingly separate trend was that our work pattern shifted to working across 150+ websites to put in place the necessary “we’re closed” messages. It was in combining these two ideas that the Pop Up Purchasing was born.
- Deliver a one-click install tool for hotel websites to offer easy purchasing capabilities
- Create the simplest possible purchase path for people arriving (max 3 screens/clicks)
- Combine the “we’re closed” message with a “help us out” e-commerce solution to add a conversion point for those wishing to support the business
- Simple e-commerce receipts and back end for voucher and purchase management
- Simple integration with payment gateway
- Free to install for all hotels to avoid painful setup
The solution that came about from this design sprint was Umi’s Pop Up Purchasing WordPress plugin, which fulfilled all the above objectives. The following video explains the solution in full.
The next step was to pilot it on certain websites and, fortunately, we had some wonderful volunteers from different locations and segments of the industry.
To give a flavour of the results, we wanted to share a quick testimonial from The Priory Hotel who managed to generate enough revenue through Pop Up Purchasing to cover business overheads while closed, along with the salaries of the non-furloughed staff. The Priory is the most wonderful hotel, and we are so proud and excited to have helped them sell their beautiful experiences.
“When we found out we would have to close for the foreseeable future, we were looking at ways we could give our customers something to look forward to during the uncertainty and also help us generate revenue over what is normally a busy time for us. Harry and the rest of the team at Umi came up with a great idea and built us a bespoke online voucher purchase page so we could offer virtual vouchers to our guests during lockdown. It meant our guests could easily purchase a flexible monetary or stay voucher with no set arrival date and we generated an income during the period we were closed. Our huge thanks goes to the Umi team for their creativity and proactivity during a very uncertain time.”